Prineville Black Lives Matter rally brings counter-protest; police make 4 arrests
We talked to participants from both groups to see what they had to say
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters and counter-protesters gathered on either side of Third Street in downtown Prineville on Saturday afternoon, and while things stayed mostly peaceful, there were some incidents and four arrests, police confirmed.
The scheduled Black Lives Matter rally took place in front of the Crook County Courthouse, the scene of a similar previous event, while those with a different message gathered across Third Street, in front of Prineville City Hall.
Oregon State Police said a conflict arose when a Black Lives Matter protester allegedly shoved an elderly counter-protester.
Prineville Police Capt. Larry Seymour confirmed to NewsChannel 21 that four people were arrested. Two were lodged and released, he said, while two were cited and released.
"The two that were (briefly) lodged were given multiple warnings to get out of the center of the road, and even offered a citation if they would walk to the sidewalk, and they refused," Seymour said.
There was tension in the air, at times. A viewer shared an obscenity-laced video of a confrontation between protesters and counter-protesters, with some of the latter shouting, "Get the ---- out of our town!" And signs, such as "I was born here -- Black Lives Matter" and a counter-protester's "Go Back 2 Portland."
Here’s what some people in both groups told us:
Black Lives Matter protester Luke R. said, "I'm trying to just spread the word that this is just about making everyone's lives matter. Not just black lives, it's everybody. But right now, the black lives are the ones that are suffering the most, and we want to see the most changes."
Counter-protester Lewis T. said, "This is all about George Soros-funded communists that have infiltrated our country. They've infiltrated our schools. They've infiltrated the Democratic party. They've taken over the Democratic party, and they are trying to take over our system of government."
Protester Marichelle G. said, "And I'm here to show that I am a Prinevillian. I was born here in the town, I'm a native, and I care about these issues. I have friends that are black, I have family members that are black, and this is not okay. And this needs to be addressed."
"I hope that there is change -- structural and systematic change to the laws here in Prineville," she continued. "I want that lynching and sundown law gone. I want all the laws that are outdated and racist gone."
Counter-protester Lynn A. said, "Well, I think they're missing the message. The message is not about George Floyd. The message is about all lives matter. Black lives, blue (police) lives, white lives -- they all matter. Their agenda is, in my opinion, to hurt this economy all the way up to the election.
"And frankly, Prineville won't tolerate it," he continued. "These people think we're racist because we disagree with their Black Lives Matter message. We do not. We believe that police lives matter also. And when they do this, I think it's very disruptive."