Police-brutality protest march planned for Saturday in Winchester

Falling in line with nationwide protests stemming from the death of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck, a peaceful march down Dinah Shore Boulevard is planned for Saturday.

Winchester Police Chief Ritchie Lewis said Decherd resident Justin Stubblefield applied for a permit to have the march from the Kroger parking lot in Decherd beginning at 5 p.m., to the Franklin County Courthouse on the Winchester Square. He said a special permit is required to hold such events on public roadways.

Decherd City Administrator Rex Clark said Stubblefield has been in contact with Decherd city officials about getting a permit to start the march in Decherd. However, he said such a request has never been made, and the city will have to take steps to accommodate the march.

Clark said a permit is required, according to a city ordinance, but since one has never been requested, Decherd will have to develop one. He said plans are to have the permit available by Wednesday.

Lewis said plans are to have the march down the Dinah Shore Boulevard’s center with the two outside lanes open to accommodate traffic.

Word about having a protest march was circulated on Facebook, and the Winchester Police Department’s page includes the following statement:

“They want this to be a peaceful protest about George Floyd and ongoing issues with police brutality," the posting says. “The Winchester Police Department supports the protest and will do everything in our power to make it successful.

“Neither the petitioners, nor the Winchester Police Department want any violence or destruction. We will have measures in place in case any out-of-town actors, or anyone for that matter, wishes to do these protesters or this community harm. We hope that this community will come together on this issue for a step in the right direction for a positive outcome.”

Violent protests have erupted throughout the nation, the closest large-scale event being in Nashville during the weekend.

Metro Nashville Police said in a tweet that at least 30 businesses and buildings were damaged after a peaceful demonstration turned violent on Saturday.

Fires were lit inside and outside the city’s historic courthouse and a statue of a former state lawmaker and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views was toppled.

Metro Nashville Police tweeted that 28 people were arrested during the protest and four others were arrested after a 10 p.m. curfew was implemented Saturday evening.

Demonstrators earlier in the evening pulled down a statue of Edward Carmack outside of the state Capitol building.

Carmack was a politician in the early 1900s who wrote editorials lambasting the writings of prominent Tennessee civil rights journalist Ida B. Wells.

He was fatally shot in 1908 by a political rival.

The protest occurred as demonstrators across the country protested Floyd’s death.

The main officer involved, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and faces a third-degree murder criminal charge. Three other officers were fired and are expected to face criminal charges stemming from the incident.

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