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Police say George Floyd protest in Parkersburg was peaceful, no arrests made

(WTAP)
Published: May. 31, 2020 at 8:52 PM EDT
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Law enforcement officials say no arrests were made during a peaceful protest in Parkersburg on Sunday.

A large crowd of protesters marched through downtown Sunday evening in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. While some protests have turned violent around the country, many have remained peaceful, just as the one in Parkersburg did.

Police said they had a plan in place if anything went wrong during Sunday night’s protest, but both Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens and Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin were pleased that plan didn’t have to go into effect.

“The participants in the march, they cooperated great, they exercised their right to assemble and we had zero problems. About half way through it, traffic became an issue, but we were able to navigate that,” said Martin.

Martin said the protesters didn’t have a permit to march through the streets, but Martin said police were not planning to remove anyone peacefully protesting.

Officers with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Parkersburg Police worked “behind the scenes” most of the day Sunday, doing social media research on protesters.

“There were some bad actors that were trying to infiltrate this group and we had to identify who those folks were and make sure that they weren’t going to become a problem for us,” said Martin.

Martin was pleased with how the protest turned out, noting the “great” cooperation between law enforcement agencies. He said most local police aren’t like the man who knelt on the neck of George Floyd.

“One bad act took away a lot of good things a lot of policemen all over this country have done. And that was wiped out by one act, one individual. The overwhelming majority, locally, as far as law enforcement goes, they do not condone anything that happened in Minneapolis. Related to what the officer did what he did, it was unspeakable and unthinkable from our perspective. Luckily for us, we have very good policies in place that would prevent anything like that from happening,” said Martin.

Sheriff Stephens held a similar view.

“As law enforcement, we don’t like dirty cops or cops that [cause] injury or death to other people,” said Stephens. “99.9 percent of them, police officers, support what’s being done."

On top of the police department and sheriff’s office, the West Virginia State Police could be seen at the protests.

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