In Pictures: Protestors honor George Floyd and call for criminal justice reform

Protestors gather at City Hall to advocate for law enforcement reform in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

WILMINGTON — Hundreds gathered for a sixth night of protest on the front steps of City Hall Friday evening, honoring the names of George Floyd and others — including former Wilmington resident Brandon Smith — killed by law enforcement officers. They also called for criminal justice reform and the lifting of the 9 p.m. curfew imposed earlier this week.

The crowd chanted in unison “Brandon Smith” throughout the evening. Smith was shot and killed by New Hanover Sheriff’s deputies in 2013. At the time of the incident, no weapon was found on Smith, who was wanted in connection with a shooting that injured New Hanover detective Michael Spencer.

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Moments before the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect, Smith’s sister, Georgia Davis, called for social justice reform through a loudspeaker.

“Things that Floyd went through is breaking my heart, because I was one of the people who dealt with the police brutality. They killed my brother,” she said minutes later as the crowd dispersed before the 9 p.m. curfew.

At around 8:40 p.m., Lily Nicole, who has become a leading voice of the protests this past week, led the crowd in nine minutes of silence to honor Floyd, Smith, and others killed by law enforcement officers.

“My stomach hurts!” she yelled on a megaphone before the crowd repeated the phrase in unison. After a moment of silence, the chanting and silence were repeated with phrases like, “My neck hurts! … Everything hurts! … Please, I can’t breathe! … They are going to kill me! … Please, don’t kill me!”

A red sedan passed by as the driver and passengers, including children, raised their fists in silence as the crowd returned the gesture. Another man drove by moments later, yelling, “Go home!” to the protestors.

Earlier in the evening, the protestors formed a long line and marched south on Third Street and west on Market Street before looping back to City Hall via Chestnut Street, guided by Wilmington police officers. They again marched through downtown Wilmington about an hour later.

At the end, protestors urged others to travel to Raeford, near Fayetteville, to attend Floyd’s memorial service. Jane Jacobs, a Tuscarora Native American who called herself a “mom who’s just tired” of police brutality, urged protestors to depart peacefully. She later said permits had been obtained to gather at City Hall for the next 365 evenings.

View pictures of the rally and march through downtown Wilmington on Friday evening below:

At 7 p.m. Friday, New Hanover Sheriff’s deputies keep tabs on protestors gathered at City Hall early Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A young man holds a sign suggesting the defunding of the Wilmington Police Department. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Supporters of the Black Lives Matters movement on the steps of City Hall Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Chants of “I can’t breathe” and “Say his name” rang throughout the night. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A man carries drinks to a car acting as a support vehicle for protestors. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A woman wears a gas mask at City Hall, near where New Hanover deputies first fired tear gas canisters at groups of protestors on Sunday night. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A support tent where protesters stacked sandwiches, drinks, and other supplies. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A man shows support to protestors who begin marching toward downtown Wilmington on Market Street. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors begin marching down Third Street before making a loop around downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Young protestors march past Slice of Life Pizzeria on Market Street. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors yell “No justice, no peace!” while marching down Market Street. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A New Hanover Sheriff’s deputy guides marchers on Front Sreet, where on Sunday night multiple rounds of tear gas canisters were fired into groups of protestors. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Multiple downtown businesses had boarded up their windows in preparation of possible property damage if the rally escalated later that night, as it did on Sunday. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Wilmington Police officers ensure protestors stay off Third Street. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Motorcycle riders drive past City Hall Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
At 7:30 p.m. Friday evening, protestors gather at City Hall to advocate for law enforcement reform in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Lily Nicole, who has become a leading voice for the protestors in the past week, calls for the crowd to give a moment of silence for Brandon Smith, who was shot and killed by New Hanover Sheriff’s deputies in 2013. At the time of the incident, no weapon was found on Smith, who was wanted in connection of a shooting that injured New Hanover detective Michael Spencer. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Medics wearing red crosses are on scene to provide first aid for protestors experiencing heat exhaustion or other ailments. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors raised clinched fists whenever cars passed honking in support. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
The crowd cheers after a protestor yells through a megaphone that permits have been obtained to gather at City Hall every night for the next year. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Masked protestors raise fists and hold up signs on the front steps of City Hall. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
White protestors show their support of the Black Lives Matters movement. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Alexius Hampton, who recently moved to Wilmington from Charlotte, looks over the crowd of protestors Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors on the front steps of City Hall Friday evening at 8:03 p.m., an hour before the curfew goes into effect. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors raise clenched fists as Wilmington Police officers stand behind them. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
For the second time Friday evening, protestors march in a long line down Third Street before making a loop around downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Wilmington Police officers stand outside the New Hanover County Courthouse as protestors march past them. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors march down Front Street on Friday evening, where tear gas was fired onto crowds of protestors throughout Sunday night. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors chant the name of Brandon Smith while marching down Front Street on Friday evening. Smith was shot and killed by New Hanover Sheriff’s deputies in 2013. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Wilmington Police officers guide protestors as they march down Chestnut Street. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A protestor leads the crowd in a chant after returning from a march through downtown Wilmington, 8:21 p.m., Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Lily Nicole, who has become a leading voice for the protestors in the past week, leads raise a clenched fist after yelling, “People of color deserve to have knees off their [expletive] necks!” (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors gather on the front steps of City Hall Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Jane Jacobs, a Tuscarora Native American who called herself a “mom who’s just tired,” urges the crowd to depart peacefully. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Georgia Davis, sister of Brandon Smith, who was shot and killed by New Hanover Sheriff’s deputies in 2013. “Things that Floyd went through is breaking my heart, because I was one of the people who dealt with the police brutality. They killed my brother,” she said after the crowd dispersed twenty minutes later. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors gather on the front steps of City Hall, 8:32 p.m. Friday evening. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors finish the rally with nine minutes of silence in honor of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis Police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Protestors raise their fists in honor of a black Wilmington resident killed by New Hanover deputies in 2013. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)(
The crowd dispersed peacefully in minutes. Two minutes after the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect, Wilmington Police officers walk away from City Hall. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

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