Sunday at 6 p.m. about 100 people gathered outside Madison’s capitol for the second night of protests against the killing of George Floyd.
This crowd then moved down State Street towards Library Mall chanting, “take off your badge, march with us” and, “What’s his name? George Floyd! What can’t he do? He can’t breathe!”
Police lined the sidewalks of State Street watching the crowd and blocking traffic as they crossed intersections.
Once they reached Library Mall protestors turned back towards the Capitol and looped it. One protestor announced that the National Guard was on their way saying, “be prepared for more action in the following hour.”
This route was completed a few times before the crowd gathered at Library Mall in a wide circle.
Lature Carter, the aunt of Tony Robinson, a Black teenager killed by Madison police in 2015, spoke at the center of the circle.
“Tony Robinson was my nephew, is my nephew. He was shot seven times by a madison police officer,”Carter said. “Some of those bullets were through his hands. How do you get shot in your hands?”
To which someone in the crowd responded, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Protestors then marched back to the Capitol and looped it several more times.
As the 9:30 p.m. curfew set by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway drew closer several experienced protestors instructed the crowd to memorize a phone number with a 608 area code as they would be taken to a local jail if arrested, turn on their siri so they could call a friend or family member easily and for white protestors to form a barricade around Black protestors and protestors of color if police became violent.
Marching continued with protestors chanting, “it is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win” and, “the only thing we have to lose is our chains.”
As they marched, a few individuals kicked glass and threw rocks. Each time this happened the entire crowd called on them to stop and demanded to know who the perpetrator was, chanting, “This is not a riot, this is the revolution.”
Around 10:00 p.m. several protestors turned to the police stationed along Pickney Street, telling them to join them. As the crowd grew larger police threw tear gas and protestors scattered, running to Mifflin Street.
More police arrived on the scene immediately, dressed in riot gear and holding large plastic riot shields.
Police advanced down Mifflin Street, deploying more tear gas. Protestors ran, shielding their eyes and coughing as others passed out milk and water mixed with baking soda.
Police soon established another line on the opposite side of Mifflin, preventing the crowd from continuing their lap of the Capitol Square.
National Guard officers began to pour out of the Capitol as protestors kneeled in front of the police with their hands raised.
White protestors were instructed to form a shield in the front as the crowd knelt. Once the National Guard was positioned and the officers were lined up four deep with their shields in place, they deployed more tear gas.
Protestors scattered again, running down Wisconsin Ave. The police and National Guard officers on either end of Mifflin joined forces and repeatedly used tear gas to push the crowd further down Wisconsin Avenue to Dayton Street.
Protestors disagreed about where to go from there, with some wanting to head towards Memorial Union and others shouting to go to James Madison Park.
Police formed a line along Dayton and threw gas straight forward, forcing the crowd to split in half. Police then moved forward blocking the separate groups from one another.
Protestors could be heard calling their friends trying to find out where they were and what was happening on the other side of the line.
This splitting of the crowd caused small groups of protestors to break off and disperse throughout Madison.
Some of these groups later began fires and smashed windows throughout the area, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
Organizers said these protests would continue throughout the week. Carter said she will continue to protest until there is real structural change.
“I’m yelling because I ain’t got nothin left because I am willing to die for my Black life to matter,” Carter said.