GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) The violence in Green Bay Sunday night was a disappointment for many members of the Black Lives Matter movement. They told WFRV Local 5 the weekend was supposed to be about creating positive change through peaceful protest.
Outside a Marathon Gas station, supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement clean up, helping one of many small businesses damaged during a violent standoff between a number of protesters and Green Bay police.
“We weren’t fighting for this, we didn’t want violence or vandalism, we wanted peace,” said protest organizer Dajahnae Williams.
Sunday night, after a day of peaceful protests calling for justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality, a crowd that gathered here started throwing objects at police. One tossed a trash can at a parked squad. It was violence that spilled across the area.
“Our protest was supposed to stay peaceful and this store had nothing to do with what we’re over here fighting for,” Williams said.
So many people were disappointed by that violence that impacted small businesses – that they went across the city to clean up the mess.
“I appreciate them, yes I appreciate it a lot, I appreciate them coming through to help out,” said Synika Kirk.
The owner of this clothing store got a call in the night saying his business was broken into,” said Kirk who owns Plagrnd.
“They stole a whole wall, some of the more popular brands got taken,” Kirk said.
He says this kind of violence detracts for the group’s message and is likely caused by outsiders.
“I get what’s going on. I don’t get why the businesses are being destroyed. i don’t think that’s part of the people who are trying to support and fight for the original justice cause,” Kirk said.
“We understand everybody is angry, but let’s not take it out on the innocent people that worked hard to build their businesses up,” said protester Amber Gamez.
Businesses which Williams and others took time to clean up, because violence was the last thing they wanted to happen.
“We had peace all week, until some people messed it up,” Williams said.