Anthony Vaclavicek of Oregon was quietly walking with this two-sided sign in front of the historic Ogle County Courthouse on Sunday.
He said he was “not trying to stir up any trouble” but wanted local police officers to speak out about the violence caused by Minneapolis police in the death of George Floyd, which has sparked national protests.
“Our officers are good and are actually trying to protect us,” he said. “I’m trying to encourage our officers to publicly denounce this violence. A lot of police officers have come out and denounced this.”
One side of the sign said “Better Policing Begins With Good Cops Who Speak Up. Backed The Badge, Defended Blue, Stand With Me, George Floyd Needs You. #StandUpForGeorgeFloyd.
The other side said “You Can Back The Badge & Call Out The Man Behind It. Anti-Brutality ≠ Anti-Police. #StandUpForGeorgeFloyd.
Some passersby stopped and chatted with Vaclavicek without any incident.
Two protests in Dixon have also been peaceful.
Led by Dixon police officers on bicycles, about 110 mostly young protesters marched peacefully Tuesday from John Dixon Park to the Dixon arch and back to make known their frustrations about the treatment of black Americans by the police.
Unfortunately, that was not the case in nearby cities. Peaceful protests in DeKalb, Freeport, and Rockford turned violent on Sunday causing some businesses to be damaged.
Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller issued an executive order on Monday declaring a State of Emergency through June 1 after several instances of looting and property damage occurred throughout the city on May 31.
A city-wide curfew was in effect starting at 8 p.m. on Monday to 6 a.m. on Tuesday. The curfew was going to be enforced by the city’s police department.
In DeKalb, a Black Lives Matter rally to protest police killings and ongoing violence inflicted upon people while under the custody of law enforcement seemed to end at 6 p.m. Sunday night, but three hours into demonstrations, chanting and marching from the DeKalb Police Department and into the streets occurred.
Lincoln Highway in DeKalb was shut down from the DeKalb police station to Annie Glidden as a second straight day of protests in response to the killing of Floyd.
“I’m so proud that this was peaceful and we made our point,” said Trin E., 20, a Northern Illinois University junior who didn’t want to use her full name. “We took DeKalb today.”
Not an hour later, several men took a bat and rocks to Thirsty’s Liquor on Hillcrest and Annie Glidden Road, and the looting started.
There were no clear connections between the peaceful protestors Sunday and those who looted several businesses in DeKalb.
While people were looting the Hillcrest strip mall Sunday, DeKalb Pastor Joe Mitchell, of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, arrived and used a megaphone from a DeKalb police car as he begged looters to go home.
“I agree with you no justice no peace, but this is not the way. Somebody’s going to get hurt, somebody’s going to die. Please, show love for one another, go home.”
The peaceful demonstration hours earlier was organized by Tiana McAllister, 18, of Kirkland. Many wore masks at the beginning of the rally, though didn’t keep them on for long.
“I see that around the whole U.S. now the riots are getting crazy,” McAllister said. “So I was trying to think of my way that I can do it to make it so its peaceful but actually make a statement without burning down buildings.”
The peaceful protest Sunday which saw nearly 200 people chanting in front of the police department did not appear to be connected to the looting that followed.
The officers walked over to stand with the crowd, but did not speak.
Kelsey Rettke and Alex Paschal of Shaw Media contributed to this article.