Police join residents at peaceful protest rally in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau law enforcement officers joined elected officials and residents at a peaceful gathering Saturday in Alaska’s capital to protest the death of George Floyd.

Violent protests have erupted around the country after Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer said he and other officers attended to show solidarity with residents, the J uneau Empire reported.

“We don’t tolerate excessive use of force,” Mercer said at the gathering in front of a giant whale sculpture on the city’s waterfront. A group sang Alaska Native songs, and most people practiced social distancing and wore masks.

Gloria Merry helped promote the low-key vigil to show support for people grieving in Minneapolis and elsewhere, and bring a local focus to a national event.

“What goes on outside of Juneau still affects us in Juneau,” she said.