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Protesters march to Bemidji Police Department

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Protesters surround a Bemidji D.A.R.E. truck outside of the Bemidji Police Department during a demonstration on Saturday afternoon.
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BEMIDJI -- Hundreds of people gathered in Paul Bunyan Park on Saturday afternoon and marched to the Bemidji Police Department to show solidarity with George Floyd, the man who died after a former Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck despite his repeated requests for the officer to stop.

The march remained mostly peaceful until a handful of protesters attacked a D.A.R.E. truck outside the police department. The D.A.R.E. truck backed into a small crowd of people. It wasn't immediately obvious if anyone was injured.

After the confrontation organizers of the demonstration and police officers shook hands.

Protesters march for George Floyd in Bemidji

The demonstration began with speakers near the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues. BSU professor David Frison was one of a dozen speakers.

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"The virus of racism is past down from mother to daughter, from father to son," Frison said. "When liberty is denied to all citizens, we can't breathe, America."

The officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after days of protesting and riots in Minneapolis and other areas in the Twin Cities.

Floyd, 46, was shown in a viral video where Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes on Monday, May 25.

Three other officers involved in the case -- Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng -- also were fired Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department.

This story will be updated.

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at (218) 333-9786, (218) 996-1216 or at jgandsey@bemidjipioneer.com.
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