ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Dozens of protesters showed up outside the home owned by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before Floyd’s death and stayed outside there into the night.
The demonstration took place more than 12 hours after it started, with dozens letting people know they will not stand for what they feel was a cruel injustice.
There were times that things got tense outside the home, with protesters yelling at deputies and even each other. But in the end, there was no violence.
“Be the change you want to see. Don’t just tweet about it, post about it," protestor Bella Mariani said.
Those who marched on the street chanted “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd could be heard saying on the video that has been seen across the world and outraged millions, sparking protests in major cities across the country.
“It made me feel like we’re not going to get a fair trial,” said Miles Mulrain, organizer of the group Let Your Voice Be Heard. “We’re not going to get our day in court, and that we are judged and executed right on the scene. It’s fearful. It makes us all passionate and fired up.”
Demonstrators also chanted “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” outside the Windermere home.
“We want to let people know we do not tolerate racism in our community,” protester Qween Leila said.
Rumors on social media swirled overnight that Chauvin, one of four Minneapolis police officers fired after the incident, relocated to his Central Florida home after protests following Floyd’s death turned violent in Minneapolis.
Orange County deputies released a statement on Twitter Friday stating that Chauvin was not at his home and has no plans to come to the area after protesters gathered in front of his Windermere home.
The goal was to keep the protest peaceful, but Mulrain said, “People have been pulling up and doing their own thing.”
The word “racist” was painted across Chauvin’s door and someone threw eggs at the home, resulting in deputies lining up in front. Protesters stood in front of them.
But it never turned violent.
Protesters told Eyewitness News they hope it stays that way, and some said they plan to stay out all night to let their voice be heard.
Minnesota officials announced just after 1 p.m. Friday that Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
“For the safety of our community, we have verified that the Minneapolis Police Department officer with a home in Windermere in unincorporated Orange County is not at that home, and has no plans to be in the area,” deputies said.
Sheriff John Mina held a news conference on Friday to discuss the situation outside of Chauvin’s home.
“We make contact with the family of the former police officer and learned they are not at the home nor do they have any intentions of going to that home,” Mina said.
He said deputies learned that the home was primarily used as a rental property.
Deputies said there had been no calls for service at Chauvin’s home before Thursday, when two calls came in but no reports were filed. Deputies said there had been several calls Friday morning
Some neighbors have welcomed the protests, but they along with the sheriff, are asking that protests don’t erupt into violence like in other cities such as Minneapolis, Louisville and Los Angeles.
“We are aware that there are some protesters in front of that house, but OCSO has had no issues with anyone on scene,” deputies said.
Protester Daisy Rosado was outside the home when news came in that Chauvin had been arrested. She said his arrest is not enough.
“I am not surprised,” Rosado said. “They are pacifying a community. We need a conviction. That’s what we need. That’s not enough.”
Sheriff John Mina, as well as other local law enforcement leaders, have spoken out about Floyd’s death. In a statement, Mina called Floyd’s death “inexcusable, indefensible, and in my opinion unlawful.”
“We must hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Our profession must improve... Now,” Mina said in a tweet.
Mina met with the protesters saying he was fine with peacefully protesting and that he understands why they are there.
You can view the sheriff’s response below:
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