Ohio fire chief's son leads peaceful protest

Brady Byrd, son of Toledo Fire Chief Brian Byrd, organized the candlelight demonstration to inspire change after the killing of George Floyd

By Laura French

TOLEDO, Ohio — The son of an Ohio fire chief led a peaceful candlelight protest on Sunday, two weeks after his father penned an emotional Facebook post about being a black man and a civil servant. 

Toledo Fire Chief Brian Byrd's son Brady organized the protest in the hopes of encouraging change after the killing of George Floyd, according to WTOL. Protesters gathered downtown carrying candles and held a nine-minute moment of silence representing the amount of time fired Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck.

Chief Brian Byrd wrote a Facebook post on March 31, saying his "soul was torn" and that he "felt the same anger and rage over the very issues being protested ... because those same recurring issues affect me, my sons, my family."

The fire chief also wrote that he had begged his son not to participate in the protests out of fear of "the potential consequences." 

"I had to balance the responsibility of my duty with praying that I don't see the face of my son looking at me in disappointment because I asked him not to participate ... when he knows that I really want to stand beside him with my fist raised ... because he knows that I am in pain," Chief Byrd wrote. 

The chief told WTOL in an interview about a confrontation he had with officers while coaching a youth sports team that led him to reflect on how he is treated when he's not in uniform.

Brady Byrd said he does not want to see the next generation go through the same challenges as him and his father, and that he hoped the peaceful protest would inspire others to care about the issue. 

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