Police, protesters respond to conflict at Tuesday night protest

After police had to use force on Grand Island protesters at the end of a demonstration,...
After police had to use force on Grand Island protesters at the end of a demonstration, protesters are speaking out on who was responsible for the report of throwing rocks. (KSNB)(KSNB)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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Tuesday night protests in Grand Island ended with police making protesters leave the area using force. It was after reports of people throwing rocks at cars. Protest organizers said they're not to blame.

A video taken by Luis Trejo shows protesters being shot by police. Trejo helped organize the protest at 1st St and Walnut. He said people who joined the group later on began throwing rocks. When police arrived, Trejo said they were egging them on, causing them to use pepper balls and OC gas.

Police said they had a prearranged time for the protest to end at midnight and when they asked people to leave they had rocks thrown at them and their cruisers.

“There was no curfew in place. We had negotiated an end time with the organizers largely because some of the late night activities on Sunday just hoped the peaceful protest would end peacefully,” Grand Island Police Captain Jim Duering said.

The protesters said they have been working together with police to keep the protest peaceful.

“What I have to say on the other end to those unpeaceful protesters are only here to start the riots. If you're going to be doing that, stay home. We're here to do this peacefully,” Trejo said.

Police planned for a meeting with protest organizers Wednesday morning to discuss ways to improve their actions and ways for the protests to remain peaceful.

“Two things, we want to come to an agreement about what it takes to have peaceful protests that end peacefully and what the community wants from us going forward so the strife between the police department and community is lessened,” Captain Duering said.

The protesting side did not show up to the meeting. The Police Chief and Sheriff plan to meet with them before Wednesday's protest starts. Trejo said he is looking forward to the conversation.

“I heard people talking about burning down the police station and I had to make a video to put an end to that because we're peaceful,” Trejo said. “We're not going to be burning buildings, we're not going to be looting. We want to set an example and the only way we can do that and that is peacefully.”

The protest Wednesday is scheduled to start at 7 pm at the same location. Law enforcement will be arriving just before to meet with the group leaders.