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COVID-19, Police-Related Death Taking Toll on Nation


By La Prensa Staff
 

June 2, 2020: If ever there is to be a summer of discontent, 2020 is quickly shaping up to fill the bill. Already feeling pent-up and frustrated after weeks of coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, protests filled the streets of Toledo and several other Northwest Ohio communities over the weekend.

 

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody only added a lit match to a powder keg of emotions across the region and nation. A police officer is accused of killing Floyd by holding his knee on the suspect’s neck for several minutes, despite continuous pleas by Floyd and onlookers for the cop to release pressure. An autopsy shows Floyd died from asphyxiation due to constant pressure. Floyd’s death, caught on video, has prompted outrage and protests.
 

As Ohio and Michigan residents seek to adjust their routines yet again with the end of stay-at-home orders by each state’s governor, many remain laid off or unemployed, their immediate economic futures uncertain. Floyd’s death also punctuated the growing concern over the large proportion of minority deaths from COVID-19 when compared to the white population. The death rates only exacerbate long-time health disparities in minority populations.

 

Protests in Toledo over the weekend grew to at least Bowling Green and Fostoria by Sunday, largely peaceful in nature. However, there were 22 arrests in the aftermath of a large protest Saturday in downtown Toledo, prompted by a clash with police who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd after the protest ended. Police wore full body armor at the event.

 

“Officers had rocks, bricks, gas cans, incendiary devices, m80s, fireworks, eggs, and more hurled at them. Many of those objects struck officers and other protestors, causing injury,” read a statement posted on TPD’s official Facebook page. “Tensions and tempers were high from some people on all sides. It is possible that there were examples of officer misconduct on Saturday - and all formal complaints will be investigated.”

 

Police are asking for the public’s help to identify photos that will be posted on social media in the coming days—people not yet charged for their roles in escalating the violence that led to broken windows at businesses, damage to police cruisers, and injuries to protestors and police.

 

The coming weeks and months will be difficult, painful, and tough for all people,” the TPD post read. “We recognize this and want to move forward working in conjunction with our community to preserve life, enforce the law, provide quality services, reduce the fear of crime, and promote joint problem-solving for safe, secure neighborhoods.”

 

TPD officers demonstrated they meant those words by walking with sign-carrying protestors along the streets of South Toledo Monday evening. The peaceful march went for miles and took place down Hill Ave. to Reynolds Rd. A protestor called it “a breakthrough for our generation.”

 


Photo by Raena Smith


Photo by Raena Smith


Photo by Joshua Ball


Photo by Joshua Ball


Photo by Joshua Ball

Michigan’s governor announced Monday that state’s stay-at-home order would be lifted effective immediately. Ohio has gradually been reopening businesses over the past couple of weeks, as the governor gradually eased a stay-at-home order over the past month. Michigan’s approach to reopening businesses and services mirrors Ohio’s approach.

 

Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted in Michigan. Outdoor parks and recreation facilities may be open. Drive-in theaters can reopen. Retailers will be allowed to reopen June 4, followed by bars and restaurants for indoor and outdoor dining June 8. Day camps, libraries, museums, and outdoor public swimming pools can resume operations that same day.  Gyms and fitness centers, casinos, and hair and nail salons must remain closed, although Michigan’s governor hinted they may reopen by July 4th.

 

The economic effects of the COVID-19 precautions will be felt for months, if not years to come.

 

The University of Toledo will host a virtual roundtable discussion on Thursday, June 4, 5:30 p.m., about the death of George Floyd. The free, public event will feature a panel of UT students, faculty and staff. The “Dialogues on Diversity Virtual Town Hall” will include UT Police Chief Jeff Newton, UT law professor Benjamin Davis, Dr. Monita Mungo, UT assistant professor of sociology, and Nyah Kidd, president of the UT Black Student Union, among others.

 

“The events of the past week have brought to light the critical role higher education can and must play in facilitating open and honest discussions that empower us as a community and a nation to translate our ideals into actionable change,” said Dr. Willie McKether, UT vice president for diversity and inclusion.

 

The virtual gathering can be accessed on WebEx using the access code 160 282 6992. The meeting password is HSfu4PQF6D3. Others can join by phone by calling 415.655.0002.

 

Latino nonprofit organizations continue to focus on children and families in need during COVID-19. The Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center recently made and handed out approximately 800 art kits throughout the Old South End, while continuing to serve lunches to kids and senior citizens alike.

 

The Believe Center is putting a focus on the family with a summer schedule of exercise and activities that will be centered at the new Corbett Athletic Complex at Danny Thomas Park, 2101 Broadway. The evening activities will begin Tuesday, June 9 and will run through mid-August.

 

A family run will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 7 p.m. Every other Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m., will feature Family Fitness on the Field, a free, family-friendly outdoor exercise program that features Zumba alongside speed and agility exercises. Friday nights, 6 to 8 p.m., will feature a kickball game pitting one family against another. During the day, STEM on the Field will feature science, technology, engineering and math activities for kids ages 5 to 14 every Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. At each event, COVID-19-related social distancing and safety protocols will be enforced.

 

The Believe Center continues to host a free Friday food giveaway, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in conjunction with community partners.

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2020 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/02/20 21:40:23 -0700.

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