Crowd stays peaceful as Cincinnati protesters join West Chester event

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Protesters take knee during protest in West Chester on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A crowd gathered at the West Chester Clock Tower on Tuesday evening for an event that was peaceful, included chants and speakers and continued protests throughout the region after the death last week of a Minnesota man in police custody.

Protesters from Cincinnati arrived shortly after 6:30 p.m. and joined the existing group of a few dozen who held signs and were spread throughout the area.

The crowd then gathered around people giving speeches and chanted, including “black lives matter” and “George Floyd,” in remembrance of the man who died while in police custody in Minnesota. The crowd clapped after chants and speeches, and West Chester police officers were seen kneeling with the crowd.

During the event, the West Chester trustees met in an emergency meeting by conference call and set a township-wide curfew from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday with exemptions for some people and activities. The curfew lasts for 30 days and can be dropped by another trustees vote. The township administrator also can change the time.

“Keeping our residents, first responders and property safe is West Chester’s top priority,” township Trustee Ann Becker told the Journal-News after the vote.

Trustee Lee Wong also told the Journal-News, “Peaceful protests are valid. Violence and looting are not.”

Protesters continued to share stories and make speeches with 20 minutes to go until the curfew. Police said because it has been so peaceful it can go past the curfew. The protest did not wrap up until around 10:20 p.m., our partners at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

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The first planned event to happen in Butler County was a march on Sunday morning through Hamilton and around the Butler County Courthouse that remained peaceful and ended after a few hours. This was the second planned event in the county.

Organizers of the West Chester event noted on Facebook they wanted to hold the event “to pray (or kneel, sing, meditate, whatever they prefer) for peace and unity. We won’t be out there long. We can still practice responsible social distancing as well. Let’s be the change we would all like to see. Our children are watching.”

Friends - Please join us tomorrow Tuesday June 2nd at 6:30pm at the West Chester clock tower. I have asked that Butler...

Posted by Jessie Grabert on Monday, June 1, 2020

Before the event started, the organizer published a video on Facebook

“This is not a riot, this is not a protest,” she said. “What I told my children last night and friends on Facebook is we’re going to get together and we’re going to pray, and we are going to send good vibes,” she said.

Later she said, “I’m so upset right now, because my phone is just blowing up. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all, OK. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then keep it to yourself, because you’re what’s wrong.”

Pray for peace....

Posted by Jessie Grabert on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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