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Public Defenders Take To NKY Streets To Protest George Floyd's Death

Demonstrators with the "Black Lives Matter to Public Defenders" march on June 8 cross the Licking River into Covington.
Demonstrators with the "Black Lives Matter to Public Defenders" march on June 8 cross the Licking River into Covington.

Public defenders in Northern Kentucky took to the streets of Newport and Covington Monday to protest the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans at the hands of police. Campbell County's Sheena Baylon says as public defenders they fight every day for the indigent, downtrodden and to give a voice to the voiceless.

"What we are seeing is that this is happening more so to people of color than any other community," she said. "We want to say that black lives matter; that we are hearing the concerns of the community and we want to bring an end to police brutality and systematic racism."

The group marched from the Campbell County Courthouse to the Kenton County Courthouse in Covington, and picked up additional protesters along the way

Credit Ronny Salerno / WVXU

Baylon says she's never had a client kill someone on video and go home that night, alluding to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck while he uttered the words "Please" and "I can't breathe." Chauvin now faces charges of second degree murder. 

"Law enforcement are receiving a benefit that everyday citizens aren't getting," she says. "And what's concerning about that is that we should actually expect more from law enforcement than what we expect from everyday citizens. We should be able as a society to expect more from the individuals we pay to uphold the law."

In front of the Campbell County Courthouse and across the street from Newport's World Peace Bell, demonstrators took a knee for nearly nine minutes, the length of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck.

There was no visible police presence during the event, and volunteers handed out water along along the route.

Credit Ronny Salerno / WVXU

Demonstrators took another knee for another nearly nine minutes of silence once they arrived at the Kenton County Courthouse. 

Credit Ronny Salerno / WVXU

"The primary focus is to simply state that as public defenders and members of the public we believe that black lives matter, that we are against police brutality, that we seek to end racism," Baylon says. 

Once the moment of silence ended, the group began to chant "Say his name; say her name," referring to Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was killed by Louisville police on March 13 when they broke down the door to her home with a search warrant for drugs. The person they were looking for had already been arrested and no drugs were found in Taylor's home.

As the protest ended, an organizer told attendees, "We must keep moving. We must listen to people of color."

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