A west suburban protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ended peacefully in Downers Grove on Tuesday with several police officers taking a knee and protesters cheering.
The protest started with a small group marching on Main Street through downtown Downers Grove, according to David Deal.
Deal participated in the protest and shared a video of it on Facebook Live.
“As the video goes on you start to see, very slowly, the protest gets bigger,” Deal said. “Why does that happen? People watching on their sidewalks wanted to join in.”
There was concern among downtown business owners, however. Many storefronts were boarded up in preparation. Business owners had seen the damages caused by looters in Naperville on Monday night and the looting at a nearby Best Buy on Sunday.
“One person started to board and then we all started to talk to each other, and police recommended we close and also that we board up,” said business owner Beth Staley.
But Deal said he could sense Tuesday’s protest was peaceful.
“My instincts told me that this is gonna be fine,” Deal said.
Protesters ended their march in front of the village hall and police department. They took a knee and started a conversation with police officers, who soon showed their support by taking a knee themselves.
“The Village of Downers Grove rejects discrimination, systemic racism of any kind. We value and respect all human life, and I think that was clearly on display,” said Downers Grove Police Chief Shanon Gillette. “I couldn’t be more proud of our officers.”
Deal said he was inspired by his son to participate in the protest. He said he is glad the video is being viewed as a positive experience.
“But I also want to remember this is all about Black Lives Matter,” Deal said. “This is about the George Floyds of the world.”
Many downtown businesses have yet to remove the boards from the windows and doors.
There is another protest scheduled in Downers Grove for Sunday.