Local leaders react to violent turned protest

Local leaders say last night's protest which escalated through the night was uncalled for and shouldn't happen.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 7:00 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—"I have absolutely no patience for people who are cowards, that choose to deliberately hurt people, to put fear into people's lives, that destroy property, take advantage of situations for their own personal gain," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. "To me I have no time for that."

Dennis said the violence and destruction that broke out Sunday night at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse is unacceptable.

The protest was slated to start at 8 - but several different groups began marching an hour early. Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tracy Brown says local law enforcement was prepared for this outcome.

"I think the plan that was laid out by the law enforcement leaders fit the need for the event," said Brown. 

Brown said he has no idea why the courthouse was targeted - but it was uncalled for.

"What happened last night crossed the line and we want peace in community," said Brown. "My hometown is a special, special place."

Local NAACP President Sadie Harper Scott said the people inflicting violence weren't there to protest.

"They were there to think more like, to agitate and get people worked up," said Scott. "But that was not the moment for that."

She said it's unfortunate and sad that people came with a different message.

"You always find those who come without the same reason of the same intent that we have," said Scott

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said violence doesn't convey the right message.

"You can't read people's minds but I think sometimes people just take advantage of a situation," said Roswarski.

LPD Officers also made several arrests at last night's protest. Kyanne Edwards, Caleb Basting, Lawrence Simmons, and Corbin Whitlock were arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting law enforcement.

Ethan Hughes and Quentin Clark were arrested at Best Buy for Burglary. No mugshot was available for Clark. Clark was the only person arrested not from the Greater Lafayette area. Police said he had a home address in Chicago. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department is also investigating a shot fired incident.

A deputy was on the balcony of the courthouse when someone shot near the deputy and damaged a window.

As News 18 previously reported, the local NAACP is working with local law enforcement to hold a town hall style meeting.
Once we have more information on the time and place - we'll let you know.

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