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Appleton, WI joins in demanding justice for George Floyd

By Dan Pratt |
June 2, 2020
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Protest demands justice for Floyd George.
Protest demands justice for Floyd George. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Appleton, WI - On May 30, as many as 1000 people braved the pandemic, wearing masks and practicing social distancing where they could while filling Houdini Plaza in downtown Appleton. People joined together to protest the savage and racist police killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd last week, and to rally for the Black Lives Matter movement.

With chants of “No justice, no peace!” and signs that read “Police accountability now!” the diverse crowd of outraged protesters stood in the sun for hours and marched several times around the police station. The demonstration was able to proceed without any trouble from police, who looked on from a safe distance.

Although it is a rural city, Appleton is not unfamiliar with the blight of police crimes. On May 21, 2017, Jimmie Sanders, an unarmed Black man, was shot and killed ‘accidentally’ by Lieutenant Jay Steinke of the Appleton Police Department (APD). The incident was precipitated by a fight that broke out in a bar just before closing time, a situation which Sanders was not even involved in.

Lt. Steinke entered through a side door and immediately began firing his gun, shooting four times in total. One of the bullets struck a man alleged to have fired his own weapon. Another struck and ultimately killed Sanders. APD later released a statement that said Sanders was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lt. Steinke was acquitted of all charges by Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider.

The fight against police crimes in the U.S. has gained new significance. Millions of people, both within the U.S. and in other countries around the world, take up the call to protect Black lives and end police killings. The residents of Appleton, at least for this one day, stood on the right side of history, shoulder to shoulder with their Black neighbors, against police tyranny and inequality.