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Weekend Protests Against Police Violence Draw Thousands in Kansas

A rally in Topeka over the weekend. (Photo by Nomin Ujiyediin)
A rally in Topeka over the weekend. (Photo by Nomin Ujiyediin)

Story by Nomin Ujiyediin, Kansas News Service, and Stephen Koranda, Kansas Public Radio

Thousands of people across Kansas protested racism and police violence over the weekend during rallies in places like Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas.  Similar, peaceful protests were also held in Salina, Hutchinson and Manhattan.

The marches were sparked by the death of George Floyd last week after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Kenneth McCollough of Topeka said it feels like nothing has changed since he was growing up in segregated Alabama in the 1960s.

“Minorities feel like we’re not being protected by the law enforcement agencies or the court system,” he said at a Statehouse protest.

Marches in some places have led to violence and property damage. The Lawrence rally of more than 1,000 people was mostly peaceful. Lawrence police counted one minor injury and some limited property damage.

“We want to thank the people of Lawrence for the largely peaceful march last night,” the department said in a Facebook post. “At a time when other gatherings around the country are turning violent, your civility should serve as a model for the rest of the country.”

Washburn University student Jamaikah Phillips attended the Topeka rally because she hopes to see less racial stereotyping and violence from the police.

“I don’t condone the rioting and all of that,” she said, “but this is the only way we’re going to be heard.” 

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The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of Kansas Public Radio, KCUR, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.  


The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots in tracking the policies, issues and and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with public media stations and other news outlets across Kansas. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org. The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other founders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.