Marchers return, meet on The Green

Ira Porter
Delaware News Journal
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

No one marched in Dover Wednesday evening, but they protested.

They protested 22 people, including minors, who were detained by police for 12 hours Tuesday. The 20 charged were among a group demonstrating against police treatment of blacks, specifically George Floyd.

About 100 people gathered on The Green in Dover to call out multiple injustices they said were perpetrated by police.

“We have to protect our protesters,” said Chandra Pitts, a community activist and nonprofit leader in Wilmington.

“We have to give a voice to protesters and give healing to those who are most courageous.”

Martina Jackson said she was one of the 22 people taken into custody Tuesday night. She wore a black brace on her right wrist from nerve damage she said was caused by extremely tight handcuffs an officer placed on her.

Delaware State Police said Wednesday that the protesters were “acting aggressively” toward drivers on Route 13.

After protesters failed to disperse and continued to block traffic, and did not allow a Dover police cruiser to pass through the crowd, 22 people were taken into custody, 20 of whom were charged, according to state police.

A Gannett reporter with the Dover Post was among those detained by police. He was not charged.

Jackson was held for about 12 hours, she said Wednesday night.

“My people were bruised. We have broken ribs. We were scratched up,” said the Dover woman.

The group was protesting in Camden Tuesday afternoon near the Walmart, but said they were met by police with weapons brandished and wearing military-style uniforms, all after they had been protesting peacefully for more than a week.

Their plan was to kneel or lie on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was pinned under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin before his death.

They never got that chance.

Nelson Henry said he was the first to be arrested and slammed to the ground. Henry appeared at Wednesday’s meeting, walking gingerly.

“Three officers slammed me to the ground and one officer had his knee in my back,” said Henry, 31, of Dover. He said one of his ribs was broken.

Supporters said they doubled back to see what was happening as officers ran across U.S. 13 and started rounding up protesters.

Teddisha Harris, 31, was following protesters in her car.

“I was able to get away but people were being thrown to the ground. Their phones were being thrown,” she said. “We were peacefully protesting.”

Jarrett Cook, 22, was detained Tuesday, and as a white gay man, he said the trauma he experienced made him realize what African Americans go through when they deal with police.

“I’ve never been chained to a wall for 12 hours,” he said. “They tried to silence us last night,” Cook said. “They didn’t think we were going to show up today, but look at us showing up.”

Cook was one of several white attendees who were arrested Tuesday. All claimed their white privilege saw them treated better than their counterparts, and vowed to be a part of bringing change.

Police were noticeably absent Wednesday’s gathering, which lasted a couple of hours.

Protesters in a circle shared accounts of trauma, using megaphones. They vowed to continue protesting to destroy what they see as a broken system, an issue bigger than just George Floyd being murdered.

After the protest they gathered on the steps of the nearby Kent County Courthouse before returning to The Green.

Contact Ira Porter at 302-324-2581 or

Wednesday's Protest in Dover