Downloadable file: Protest_2020.jpg
Our department has received numerous inquiries about Monday’s protest. In the interest of transparency and ensuring accurate information is being shared, this is a summary of police involvement during the protest.
The protest drew approximately 1,000 individuals over the course of the day. There were also several counter-protesters, many of whom were openly carrying a firearm. Approximately 25 officers monitored the situation, to include our command staff. The protest was for the most part peaceful. At times, the group of several hundred people would take to the streets and march through the downtown area. Attempting to stop these individuals from entering the street or blocking their path would most likely lead to a violent encounter, endangering both officers and civilians. Instead, officers diverted traffic around the affected area. At times, however, some vehicles encountered protesters, but there were no reported injuries.
One person was arrested, and one other case remains under investigation. The person arrested was David Westmoreland, 51, after officers saw him menace another individual with a handgun. This occurred in a parking lot at 9th Street and Central Avenue at about 6:57 p.m. Westmoreland was lodged in jail for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct and his handgun was seized for evidence.
The case which remains under investigation is a report of a criminal mischief, in which a male reported his grey Ford truck was damaged when he encountered some protesters in the street near Riverside Avenue and Main Street. No suspects have been identified, but an officer is actively investigating the matter.
We have seen other protests across the country turn violent, with significant property damage. It was our goal to not allow this to happen. While there were some tense moments for everyone involved, we feel the police response was appropriate for the situation being presented.
We support people’s rights to exercise their constitutional freedoms, while also ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Using force on our citizens is always a last resort and we are thankful that did not happen during Monday’s protest.