BEAVERCREEK — Action that Beavercreek officers took Monday evening during a protest that ended peacefully was an example of the relationships and trust that the department has worked to build, said Police Chief Dennis Evers.
The protest that occurred in the area of North Fairfield Road and Pentagon Boulevard in response to the death of George Floyd ended with officers kneeling and even one hugging a protester.
“We did have an episode with one of the officers who is a D.A.R.E. officer and recognized one of his D.A.R.E. students and they made contact and hugged," Evers said.
The young man the officer hugged has communicated that he too wants to become an officer.
“The kneeling of some of the officers, the hug that was described, those are not things that you’re trained to do. Those come from the heart and those officers were trying to express themselves as best they could,” said Bob Stone, Mayor of Beavercreek.
In the middle of the protest, demonstrators began to block one of the intersections in the area and police released tear gas to try and disperse the crowd and deescalate a dangerous situation police said. Only one arrest was made during Monday’s protest when a person refused to leave the roadway.
However, once the road was clear and the protesters were safe officers began taking off their riot gear and the protest quickly turned to a more peaceful and meaningful moment for community members.
Protecting their first amendment right to protest, protecting their safety and others was yesterday’s whole intent, Evers said.
“I think the kneeling was our way of saying we hear you, we respect the fact that you’re protesting."
“What happened in Minnesota is not acceptable from a law enforcement standpoint under any circumstances. Clearly it was wrong and we don’t condone it.”
Stone said he applauds both the officers and the protesters for not letting things get too out of control.
“I would encourage everyone to take a deep breath,” Evers said.
“We’re not going to paint all the protesters as troublemakers or agitators because there were a lot of people out there yesterday who just wanted to peacefully protest.”
The chief asked that everyone not paint all law enforcement officers with the a broad brush just as they should not paint all protesters with one.
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