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Protest in Springfield Turns Violent Between Black Unity, SPD

Elizabeth Gabriel

A protest in Springfield turned violent between Black Lives Matter supporters and police Wednesday night. Tensions escalated despite no prior violence or vandalism. 

The protest started out peacefully, with some counter protesters showing up yelling epithets at Black Unity activists. Protesters were marching through a neighborhood when they were faced with a police barricade on a city street, which is public property. Most counter-protesters were not around Black Unity supporters at the barricade.

The Springfield police stand-off with Black Unity quickly escalated with police hitting protesters with batons, and tasing them while on the ground. Protesters clamored together to pull each other away from police. 

At least one BLM protester had a taser. It is unknown whether protesters or the police initiated the altercation.

One protester ended the night saying “next time, we bring Portland.”

Hours after at least one Black Unity leader was arrested during the altercation with police, the group discussed continuing their protest at the Springfield Public Library. But there were roughly five BLM supporters and about 20 All Lives Matter protesters by around 10:45pm.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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