A gathering of protesters on the Square in West Plains holding signs and wearing masks on June 2. (photo credit: Jeremiah Johnson)

Protest in West Plains

Joining citizens from every state in the Union as well as from more than a dozen foreign countries, a small group gathered on the Square in downtown West Plains to participate in “Blackout Tuesday” protests against racial discrimination and excessive use of force by police. Protests around the world are taking place in response to the events that resulted in the death of George Floyd.
The West Plains Daily Quill reported “about two dozen” participants by 3:00 p.m. on June 2. 
The demonstration on the Square was peaceful. The West Plains Police Department had no records of any issues with the local protesters. This is in sharp contrast to the violence and riots associated with demonstrations elsewhere in the country. 
Notably, retired St. Louis Police Chief David Dorn was killed in the chaos of looting and riots on Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis in the early morning hours of June 2. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, his death is being investigated as a homicide, and surveillance footage released by the police shows seven looters who are persons of interest in the investigation. 
Willow Springs Police Chief Bryan Hogan weighed in on the tangled, emotionally charged catalyst to the protests. Referring to the way George Floyd was handled by police, he said, “I think no matter where you stand, something wasn’t right there. That’s not the way you do business.”
“Protesting is great but criminal behavior is criminal behavior,” Hogan continued, “It’s not about what happened anymore. It’s about wanting to cause damage. Everybody has their opinion and they have the right to a peaceful protest, but criminal behavior won’t be ignored and shouldn't be ignored.”
Howell County Sheriff Mike Shannon confirmed the protest was an uneventful demonstration. 
"There's nothing that happened that shouldn't have," he said, "Protesting: that's your right just as long as you don't cross the line into criminal actions."

Howell County News

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