Public defenders hold candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A candlelight vigil in honor of George Floyd was held in Knoxville Monday night.

Local public defenders organized the event, which took place at the City County building.

It’s part of a national movement organized by public defenders or their offices.

“We are gathering this evening in memory of George Floyd and the far too many people who have been killed at the hands of law enforcement and also to just promote criminal justice reform,” Tyler Caviness, an Assistant Public Defender at the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, said.

Though the event was organized by public defenders, they were not there alone.

“We are all here to love on our community and bring about change in our country that hasn’t always stood up for us,” said one attendee, Florence Glass.

“It’s important to me as a social worker to support the community that I live in,” Elizabeth Porter said.

At one point, the vigil took a powerful pause. People lit candles and then sat or kneeled for nearly nine minutes in absolute silence. It served as a reflection of the amount of time George Floyd was on the ground with a knee to his neck.

“It’s disturbing that somebody physically assaulted a person until they were dead for that long,” Porter said.

“I was sad, I was mourning, I was angry,” said Glass.

“We want to be in solidarity with each other, be in solidarity with George Floyd, the other members of the African American community and just come out and do something meaningful,” Caviness said.

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