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Protests continue in downtown Lafayette Monday night

Small protests broke out in downtown Lafayette Monday night.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 10:20 PM
Updated: Jun 2, 2020 11:08 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Small protests broke out in downtown Lafayette Monday night. 

According to our crew on the scene, several hundred people were gathering in the downtown area. 

Lafayette Police told News 18 they are on the scene right now and are monitoring the situation. 

Our crew said they saw officers in riot gear, with riot shields and gas masks. Tear gas was thrown once throughout Monday night. One of our reporters was caught in the tear gas, but made it out safely. A few minutes prior to the tear gas, News 18's reporter on the ground saw someone throw a fire cracker onto the ground from the parking garage on 4th Street between Columbia and South Streets. 

News 18 talked with LPD Chief Patrick Flannelly in the afternoon before the protest started. He said he was so proud of the community for the several hours of peaceful protest that happened Sunday night. However, he said his team had received unconfirmed reports of gatherings Monday night that had the potential to become violent.

He said they are ready to neutralize any crime that may happen in the next week.

"We know that there are problem people out there in the community and we are ready, that's our job, that's what we train for," he said. "We hope it doesn't come to that but if it does we'll be here."

As of 2 a.m. on Tuesday, there are no confirmed reports of any looting, vandalism or serious bodily injury that happened in the downtown area from Monday's gathering.

Chief Flannelly said they have concerns about people coming from outside of the Greater Lafayette area to cause problems.

"We did have information that there might be agitators or professional provocateurs that were going to come and try to instigate and sadly whether that is true, if it was people from out side our community, what otherwise was a beautiful evening really turned sour there in the end," Chief Flannelly said of Sunday night's protest, which ended when tear gas was thrown from the Tippecanoe County Courthouse after a window was busted.

Five people were arrested at Sunday's gathering, only one was from outside of Lafayette. 

Chief Flannelly also said this is just the beginning of their investigation. He said as they review their own camera footage of the nights events, we could see more arrests.

Monday's protest de-escalated quickly after members of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office guarding the courthouse took a knee with protesters in a show of solidarity. By midnight, the crowd had shrunk in size considerably as people went home for the night. Less than 100 people were left when our crews left downtown around 1 a.m.

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