By Britt Salay | WANE 15 (Fort Wayne)
June 14, 2020
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Black Lives Matter protests continued in front of the Allen County Courthouse with protesters clashing with each other.
Sunday marked day three of ChangeMakers protests, which featured speakers covering topics about police reform, legislation, and voting. A representative of ChangeMakers told WANE 15 they were made up largely of people who had been at the first George Floyd protests in Fort Wayne.
The day started off with a Calling All Clergy march from Lawton Park to the Allen County Courthouse, where several religious leaders shared messages urging action and change. One speaker encouraged people to use their phones as their voices and send a message to Mayor Tom Henry via the Faith Indiana website.
From there, the group held a silent demonstration for 8 minutes and 46 seconds where they got on the ground and read George Floyd’s last words for the duration he was held down by Minneapolis police officers. Then, the group launched into their first speaker.
On the corner of Clinton and Berry Streets was a second, smaller group of protesters who did not agree with the methods being used by the ChangeMakers. The ChangeMakers invited that group to come to their stage and have a conversation. The ChangeMakers allowed a woman on the stage to share her feelings on the situation. Although they tried to create a dialogue, arguments broke out between the two groups. After several minutes of that, the smaller group decided to leave the courthouse lawn and head in the direction of Friemann Square.
At this point, the ChangeMakers attempted to calm their audience. They told the media to stop recording and protesters attempted to block a WANE 15 camera, which was not recording at the time. A person wearing a ChangeMakers shirt then told their audience to follow the group of protesters that walked off in order to show a united front with the other protesters. Others who had worked with the ChangeMakers took down the stage and sound equipment set up.
It was at this point that the WANE 15 crew decided not to follow the protesters for the crew’s personal safety.
After these events, a WANE 15 employee reported seeing armored vehicles and officers in riot gear in the area of Calhoun, Wayne, and Berry Streets. At the time of this article’s initial posting, Clinton Main Streets were both closed in the area of the Allen County Courthouse.
Fort Wayne Police said in a press release that around 6:00 pm, protesters began going into traffic so police shut down Clinton St. at Fourth St. Police said at this point protesters moved barricades and into the roadway to block traffic and some threw rocks at police cars. According to the press release, around 6:51 pm fencing was also used to block Clinton and block the entrance ramp to the Police Headquarters.
Just after 7:00 pm, police said the FWPD Emergency Response Team and Public Safety Response Team entered the area and gave orders to protesters to vacate or be arrested. Six people were arrested on “multiple charges”.
According to police, the road was opened back up by 7:50 pm.