Army Vet’s View of Protest on Facebook Live

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A number of protestors took the march to Interstate 680 Sunday night, chanting “Hands up. Don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace.” The group blocked both directions on the highway, according to one Facebook Live broadcaster.

The video showed a woman leading a group of protesters back to the city via the Market Street bridge, where they met a contingent of police officers who advised them of the curfew. However, the officers allowed the marchers to go back to their vehicles, which were parked downtown, so the protesters could go home.

“Go in small groups to your cars. We will cooperate with you if you cooperate with us,” one officer was heard saying.

The woman leading group spoke briefly to a member of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department, then the two embraced before the group made their way back to their vehicles, followed by the officers on foot.

The Facebook user shooting the video, a 28-year-old Army veteran from Ohio, commented on his pride for Youngstown, the protesters and local law enforcement for how everything was handled.

“Nobody got violent. Nobody got hurt,” the Facebook user said. “This was incredibly peaceful. I’m happy to be from Youngstown.”

While the protest remained peaceful, it “started having problems” when the curfew took effect at 8:30 p.m., he added. Some of the individual protesters became confrontational with officers at that time, the broadcaster said. In the video, one of the protesters could be heard condemning the curfew that was set during “a peaceful protest.”

As the protesters made their way back to their vehicles along Federal Street, large vehicles from the city’s Crisis Response Team blocked the end of Federal Street, seemingly forcing traffic in one direction.

Some of the protesters were detained by law enforcement, the broadcaster said. At about 9 p.m., many of the law enforcement vehicles started making their way toward Youngstown State University.

“I’m hearing a lot of screaming. A lot of shouting. Trust me when I tell you I’m trying to get out of here,” the broadcaster said.

Pictured at top: The view from the windshield of a motorist blocked on Interstate 680.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.