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Baltimore lieutenant reads aloud the names of police brutality victims

Lt. Peter Heron lists victim names during a protest in Baltimore Saturday.

Oscar Grant. Keith Scott. Terrell Thomas. Randy Evans. Clifford Glover. Tamir Rice. Yvonne Smallwood. Tanisha Anderson.

One by one, the Baltimore Police lieutenant read the names of the victims of police brutality elsewhere off a demonstrator's poster in a booming voice.

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“Next name,” the group chanted after name the officer spoke out. “Next name."

It’s unclear how it started, but at some point as demonstrators gathered outside police headquarters Saturday afternoon, Lt. Peter Heron stepped forward and began reading the names in a moment that bridged the divide between police and protesters.

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The demonstration, reacting to the death of George Floyd after his arrest in Minneapolis, had begun hours earlier as hundreds marched through the streets.

When they first arrived at police headquarters, there was a tense moment when the crowd first came up to the line of officers standing in front of the building on East Fayette Street. The chant was familiar: “Hands up. Don’t shoot. Hands up. Don’t shoot.”

Then Heron emerged from behind the blue line in his white lieutenant's shirt and began reading the names off.

When he was finished, Heron encouraged the group to stay safe. Heron joined the department in 2002 and was promoted to lieutenant last year. Then there was light applause as a male demonstrator persuaded a female officer to give him a hug. A few shook hands with police officials and moved on while others stayed at police headquarters.

Videos posted to social media showed largely peaceful interactions for much of Saturday as tensions flared at times outside City Hall as night fell.

Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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