How the Fayetteville George Floyd protest stayed peaceful overall

KNWA

A luxury the Bentonville Police Department didn't get on Monday, June 1.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Police said 4,000 people attended Tuesday’s George Floyd demonstration in Fayetteville.

It was the biggest protest we’ve seen in the area, and it was more peaceful than others around the state.

They made it very clear that they didn’t want the same thing that happened in Bentonville to happen here.

ALEJANDRO VICTORINO, ORGANIZER, FAYETTEVILLE GEORGE FLOYD PROTEST 

On June 2, around 4,000 people attended the George Floyd protest at the Fayetteville Downtown Square.

Alejandro Victorino, one of Fayetteville’s George Floyd protest organizers, said the demonstration was an overall success.

“We were in very close contact with the police department,” he said.

There were only a few incidents where protesters threw things like water bottles at officers, according to Sgt. Tony Murphy with the Fayetteville Police Department.

“The beautiful thing about that was that a lot of the community members stepped in and stopped those few bad eggs in the crowd from doing that stuff,” Sgt. Murphy said.

It was a time of unity, that started before the protest even began.

Protesters and officers discussed the event ahead of time.

“We worked hand-in-hand with the organizers of the event,” Sgt. Murphy said. “They even announced numerous times that the people who were there to cause trouble needed to leave.”

Sgt. Murphy said protesters were helping police themselves.

“Officers weren’t the ones doing it, it was the community standing up for the officers,” he said. “That was really cool to see.”

A luxury the Bentonville Police Department didn’t get on Monday, June 1.

The organizer for the Benton County demonstration backed out — leaving little coordination.

We want to learn from things, we want to learn from the community. I don’t wish this on anyone.

MAYOR STEPHANIE ORMAN, CITY OF BENTONVILLE

Which ultimately had what started as a peaceful protest turn into chaos when night fell.

Mayor Stephanie Orman addressed the event the next morning.

“When you see your city like you did last night, it’s hard,” she said at the presser.

In Fayetteville, the message of peace was set straight from the beginning.

“They just told us to try and remain as calm as possible and try to tell people to remain as calm as possible,” Victorino said.

The message pretty much stuck till the very end.

I would really like to commend the Fayetteville Police Department for being peaceful and cooperative. They showed a lot of restraint in themselves and I think that’s a testament to the great community here of Fayetteville.

ALEJANDRO VICTORINO, ORGANIZER, FAYETTEVILLE GEORGE FLOYD PROTEST 

We reached out to the City of Bentonville, the Sheriff’s Office, and Police Department for comment, but didn’t hear back.

Sgt. Tony Murphy said within the next week, the department will go over its response to the protest to help ensure it’s ready in case there is another one.

“No matter how an event goes we always go back to the drawing table to see what we could do better,” he said.

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