Breydan McCrary, 23, leads protesters in a march from Maine Street to the police station on Pleasant Street on Wednesday. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Breydan McCrary never intended to lead the protest. 

He showed up to the Brunswick downtown mall with about 100 other protesters to lend his support and voice to the Black Lives Matter movement calling for an end police violence against people of color. But when he got there, it was “a little quiet,” he said, and at some point, he was handed a megaphone and decided to give it a little more “oomph.” 

The crowd, which grew from around 15 people at 7:30 p.m. to a crowd of about 100 within an hour, chanted “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” “black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” and “black lives matter or America will shatter.” 

This was the second protest in the past week in Brunswick, with the first on Sunday.  Monday, people gathered in Bath to demonstrate in front of the county courthouse and police station. 

Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, despite Floyd’s cries that he could not breathe. The video of Floyd’s death, coupled with heightened tensions over a series of other police-related deaths in recent months, sparked outrage and protests across the state and country. 

Wednesday night’s protest was no different. 


The group marched to the Brunswick police station, where they laid down on the ground for nine minutes with their hands behind their backs, chanting “I can’t breathe.” 

That nine minutes felt like a long time, McCrary told the crowd, so he can’t imagine how Floyd must have felt.

“I’m sick of this,” he said. “We shouldn’t still be here in 2020. Black lives matter.”

The protest remained peaceful, and police did not interact with the protesters. The only moment of tension came when someone across the street yelled “all lives matter,” a phrase commonly used to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Protesters host a “die in” outside the Brunswick Police station, lying on the ground and chanting “I can’t breathe” for nine minutes– the same length of time a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck while he died.

After yelling back and resuming the “black lives matter” chant, protesters decided to ignore him. 

Officers in Brunswick, Bath and Sagadahoc County told The Times Record on Tuesday that they would welcome more conversations surrounding racial inequality, bias and police brutality. 


On Wednesday, the Cumberland County criminal justice community, which includes both Brunswick and Freeport departments among others, released a statement condemning the actions of the officers responsible for the “senseless and unjust” murder of George Floyd and said they too, were outraged.  

Dr. Martin Luther King described riots as the language of the unheard,” they wrote. “The circumstances of George Floyd’s murder speak loudly and clearly. We hear that message and we hear those voices. There is no place for racism and police brutality in Cumberland County, the State of Maine, or in our country. Maine law enforcement officers can and must do better.”

Officers promised to “look inward and forward” and review policies and procedures, remain transparent and eliminate police culture that condones social injustice. They also said they will continue to enhance implicit bias training and culturally sensitive services. 

“As community leaders, we are all accountable for the actions of our law enforcement officers,” the departments said. “We recognize that change starts with us. We embrace and honor this responsibility.”

Protester Felix Abongo, 25, said the protest Wednesday was “moving” and an experience unlike any he has ever been a part of. He said he hopes their message was heard and that soon there can be peace. 

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