The president of the Wichita Ministerial League says the protest movement over the death of a man in police custody in Minnesota has lost its focus.
Reverend C. Richard Kirkendoll spoke at a Wednesday news conference with police chief Gordon Ramsay and mayor Brandon Whipple. He said a May 30th protest was right on message, but the more recent protests have had a loss of focus. He said it’s not a majority of the protesters who have been causing trouble, but only a few. He said more peaceful protests are scheduled that he believes will get things back on track.
The protests have been over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody on May 25th. Four former Minneapolis police officers have been arrested and charged, and Minnesota governor Tim Walz has started an investigation of the Minneapolis police department.
Reverend Kirkendoll said pastors understand the hurt and anger but there is a peaceful answer.
Mayor Whipple said it’s important to make a distinction between a lawful protest and the few bad actors who are looting stores. He said a protest at 21st and Maize Road was peaceful, and organizers were helping to move people out when police ordered them to leave. The mayor said he wants to listen to the people who are protesting and work together to make Wichita a better place for everyone. He said he has been asked about a curfew for the city, but he has been talking with the police department on the best policy to adopt moving forward.