NUTLEY, NJ - Scores of Nutley students gathered on the corners of Franklin Ave. and Centre St. Thursday to declare 'Black Lives Matter.'

What started out as a group of about 20 youth at 4 p.m., grew over the next two hours to nearly 100 people. Virtually all were dressed in all black to mourn lost black lives. 

The grassroots nature of the event was most clearly evident in the handmade cardboard signs. Most had messages written in Sharpie, some were 'chalk ink' on black cardstock, that included the messages #BLM, 'Black Lives Matter,' 'George Floyd,' and 'Breonna Taylor." Taylor was a 26-year old Louisville resident who was killed when police broke down a door of her home and fired. Taylor, a medical technician, was not the subject of the search warrant. Louisville police admitted publicly that the attempt to issue the warrant was "botched." No arrests have been made in that case. 

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The protestors made it clear that they were not there to protest police. The protest was about holding those who committed those acts accountable. Earlier this week, the Nutley Board of Commissioners issued a statement condemning the actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's death. Joint Statement of the Nutley Board of Commissioners

This rally, like others across the state and country, was in response to the killing of George Lloyd by Minneapolis police. After making a purchase, one of the bills he used was found to be counterfeit. The clerk called 911, the emergency number, four officers who responded to the call have been charged in Lloyd's death. In countless cases involving officer related deaths, police officers have been acquitted of charges. The Black Lives Matter movement grew out of these cases as a protest against the justice system. 

Thursday's rally was a precursor to Sunday's rally in Essex County Yantacaw Park at 11:30 a.m.  'Greatness Begins In Our Backyards' Rally Moved to Nutley's Yantacaw Park June 7