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Hoke County sheriff joins protests before George Floyd's NC memorial service

Even as the Hoke County Sheriff helps George Floyd's family prepare for his memorial in Raeford on Saturday, he took the time to march alongside angry and concerned protesters on Friday. Raeford's Police Chief Marc Godwin also joined the march.

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Gilbert Baez
, WRAL Fayetteville reporter
RAEFORD, N.C. — Even as Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin helps George Floyd's family prepare for Saturday's memorial service in Raeford, he took his place alongside protesters today who marched in Floyd's name.

The crowd of about 300 lined up on Main Street at Harris Avenue to start the march. It began with a prayer. They marched for about six block on Main Street in downtown Raeford holding signs and shouting familiar chants.

There were no police barricades or lawmen dressed in riot gear.

Instead, Raeford's Police Chief Marc Godwin and Sheriff Peterkin marched with the crowd while everyone reflected on the death of George Floyd.

Organizers, county commissioners and lawmen took the stage--sharing their concerns about Floyd's death and what it personally meant to them.

"I have a son, and I was telling [him] about this the other day: Every time he get in the car, I tell him to make sure he don't get stopped. And I'm one of the cops," said Sheriff Peterkin.

Other residents also spoke up.

"That it was atrocious. No human should be treated that way," said Mezina Demeter, who lives in Hoke County.

When asked why protests were important, another resident, Lia McNeill, responded, "It's for our future man. We got to be here. We got to come together right now."

McNeill has young children and marches to make the world safe for them.

"Just seeing of the police brutality. Even the white on black crime, black on black crime. Just period. I worry about my boys as they get older," said another resident, Jasmine McGivary.

Sheriff Peterkin has been helping George Floyd's familyprepare for his memorial service in Raeford on Saturday.

The memorial service will be held in the main sanctuary. It seats about a thousand, so there should be plenty of room for social distancing.​ It will also be streamed on WRAL.com.

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