Weekend of protests wraps up with less confrontation, more conversation

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Protesters again gathered in downtown Fort Wayne on Sunday afternoon, the third such demonstration against police brutality in as many days in the city.

Protesters lay on the lawn of the Allen County Courthouse on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

After protests Friday night and Saturday night went from peaceful to destructive, with police shooting tear gas at activists and nearly 100 people arrested, Sunday’s event was largely peaceful.

Protesters returned to the sidewalk in front of the Allen County Courthouse along Clinton Street around 2 p.m. By 4:30, around 200 protesters were on the block.

Many held signs with messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.” Another sign read “If You Don’t Charge Killer Cops More Cops Will Kill.”

Later, protesters laid down on the courthouse lawn and chanted, “I can’t breathe,” the phrase George Floyd uttered as a Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck while in custody. Protesters then laid face down in a show of solidarity against police brutality.

Protesters gather on the lawn of the Allen County Courthouse on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Unlike Saturday, police vehicles were not stationed on the courthouse lawn during Sunday’s demonstration.

By dusk, the protest moved to the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge. Also unlike Saturday, no tear gas was used. Instead, officers were seen having conversations with protesters.

Protesters line the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Things did start to get a little more rowdy as the night got later. FWPD said some people threw rocks and milk jugs, but other protesters stepped in and stopped the actions before police had to get involved.

Police eventually dispersed the crowd around 11:15 p.m., but not until after gunshots were reported in the area. Officers were able to track down a suspect after a short foot pursuit. They also found and collected four shell casings where the gunshots were reported.

FWPD officers worked to peacefully push protesters out of the city after that. Anyone who refused to leave was arrested. An FWPD spokesperson said she would have a tally of total arrests later Monday morning.

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