‘Stand for Injustice’ protest on 72nd and Dodge goes from peaceful to volatile


Daisy Friedman

Young man takes a picture of 72nd street seconds after the first tear gas explosion

Daisy Friedman

Protests erupted nationwide today following the murder of the African-American man from Minnesota, George Floyd on Monday, May 25th. Floyd died at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Video footage later released showed Floyd repeatedly telling the police officer, “I can’t breathe.”

Those were his last words. 

Today, May 29, 2020, more than 1,000 people gathered at the corner of 72nd & Dodge for what was intended to be a peaceful protest about Floyd’s murder, and the reoccurring events of police brutality in America.

Central students like sophomore Noemi Gilbert showed up to support her community.

“I wanted to go to show my support for the black community, and that Omaha won’t be complicit with police violence,” Gilbert said. “If you want to make a difference, you have to be there, you have to actively stand up for what is right and show your support.” 

This ‘Stand For Injustice’ event began at 6 pm, with people standing along the east side of Dodge street. Some were wearing masks, but many were not. The number of people on the street continued to grow through the first hour of the protest. By 8 pm, people were spilling out into the intersection, cutting off traffic on 72nd street. Police officers deployed smoke cannons in hopes of dispersing the crowd. 

Protestors began surrounding police vehicles, and a KETV reporter said  protesters were throwing objects at the police who were assisting in blocking off the streets. 

By 9 pm, the time it was scheduled to conclude, the protest was getting increasingly turbulent, with no end in sight. Some protestors were breaking windows of surrounding businesses, including Target. A band of black clad officers sporting face shields marched eastbound on Dodge street followed by a military style police vehicle and more officers on horseback. They then deployed tear gas and pepper balls into the crowd.  Many protestors also reported being hit with rubber bullets by the police.

“We were peaceful the whole time. The police escalated it completely,” said senior Evan Newhouse, who left the protest after it became violent.

Around 10:30 pm, the Omaha Police Department began arresting protestors who were not abiding by the law.  A white man was arrested in the Target parking lot for having a gun in his possession. Shortly after, the protest ended.

“I hope the cops who killed George Floyd are charged with murder,” said Gilbert. “I hope that no more innocent black people will be killed by the police.”