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Police chiefs stand with protesters: ‘We want to be part of the change’

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Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 18:58:15-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Police chiefs from the cities of Colonial Heights and Petersburg joined peaceful protesters in the tri-cities over the weekend.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the tri-cities, expressing frustration over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

Some protesters were joined by some unexpected city leaders.

"Thank you sir for being here," said one of the demonstrators to Colonial Heights Police Chief Jeff Faries.

"I never thought I'd see the Chief of Police walk with us," added Tyquan Lewis.

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Police Chief Faries walked and talked with demonstrators as they made their way down the Boulevard Saturday night.

"I looked to my left, I see him marching down with us, and I was just like, wow, that's amazing right there. That spoke so much volume and it meant a lot to us to see that they were walking with us, taking a stand with us,” said Jhovan Galberth, one of the weekend demonstrators.

"Seeing him walk with us, very powerful for me. Like I never really had a Chief really talk with me,” said Lewis.

For Chief Faries, he said taking part in the protest was a simple decision.

"I wanted them to know, a little bit about the person inside the uniform and that I represent an agency that cares, that values human life and want to know them and listen to them,” said Chief Faries.

As the Demonstrators made their way into Petersburg by marching across the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge, Police Chief Kenneth Miller met them in the street and eventually held a sign with them.

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"That's what I didn't expect to see, them holding a sign. It really just stands with us in unity because we march for police brutality and different stuff with police, to have the police stand with us, should let people see that all cops are not the same," said Lewis.

"When I hold the sign, I was just expressing what everybody was asking for and what I should up hold, Justice,” said Chief Miller.

For those involved in the demonstrations over the weekend, the police chiefs say the message was heard and understood.

"I know we are listening and others around us are listening and we want to be part of the change as well," said Chief Faries

Jhovan Galberth says the demonstrators listened as well.

"At the end of the day, we all need to work together and I think my message I'm trying to share is not all cops are bad cops. There's good cops and it's not black versus white, it's everybody versus racism,” he added.