Peaceful protest

MANSFIELD -- A peaceful protest against the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis is planned for Central Park in downtown Mansfield on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Skylar McKinney, one of the organizers, said the recent killing of George Floyd by an officer who pinned the man's neck to the pavement with his knee, is not the first such improper law enforcement act against black people.

"This isn’t a one-time offense. It’s happening all over the world. I think it’s important that we do raise awareness,” McKinney said.

McKinney said the event will be peaceful, unlike protests in Minneapolis and other cities, including Columbus, which have turned violent in the last few days.

"Hateful attitudes are absolutely not tolerated. That’s the opposite of what we’re going for," McKinney said.

City of Mansfield officials, including Mayor Tim Theaker, Safety-Service Director Lori Cope and police Chief Keith Porch, issued a press release Friday in support of the event, though they warned against violence.

"By all indications, this protest is to be peaceful and not condoning acts of violence," the press release said.

"The city administration, as well as Chief Porch, absolutely supports the Constitution’s 1st Amendment and the right to peacefully assemble. However, acts of violence and/or rioting activity will not be tolerated and will be addressed according to law," it said.

Porch noted the public's right to protest and urged non-violence.

"As Chief of Police, I understand the frustration and anger surrounding the purpose of the protest and believe the objectives of the protest can be accomplished peacefully without violence and damage to property. The safety of those attending the protest and the citizens of Mansfield are of the utmost importance and the Division of Police is committed to that mission," Porch said.

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