In a release, the Appleton Police Department says they’ve been working with organizers of local protests to provide a safe place for the community to come together ovewr the past few months.
“We know these are extremely difficult times and we are committed to listening and providing a safe community for people to voice their opinions and concerns,” the department says. “Last night’s protest started out as a peaceful demonstration, but it evolved into something that was not peaceful.”
On three separate occassions, Appleton Police say officers had to issue Unlawful Assembly Orders and direct the crowd to disperse.
“There were several incidents that occurred that are not acceptable in our community.”
Authorities say they are investigating these incidents to determine who the offenders were and what criminal charges may be pursued.
Appleton Police says some of the incidents include:
- A City bus being surrounded by protestors and not being allowed to leave.
- A man walking home from a gas station being assaulted and his property being taken by members of the protest.
- The Republican Party of Outagamie County Headquarters being surrounded by protestors, those inside being threatened, and their property being damaged.
- Several other reports of individuals being harassed, battered, and threatened.
According to the release, Appleton Police have also seen some inaccurate information that they wish to correct.
“There were no federal or state agencies involved in providing security at last night’s event. The only law enforcement officers working the event were Appleton Police Department Officers. There were unmarked vehicles monitoring the protest, as we have had for every protest and for most large public special events.
“Our SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team members were involved in two incidents. They extracted the male who was being assaulted by protestors, and the citizens who were trapped in the Republican Party Offices. The team of officers arrived in a van with flashing red and blue lights and they wore uniforms with our Appleton Police Department patch and large ‘police’ patches on their backs. This technique is used to rescue individuals or officers who are endangered. The reason why we do this is to de-escalate a conflict instead of inserting a large number of officers into an incident and creating a mass arrest or more dangerous situation.”
Appleton Police go on to say that:
“During these very challenging times we all need to demonstrate respect and compassion for each other, especially those with different views or opinions. We are committed to doing that and we know that the vast majority of our community joins us in that commitment.”
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