BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson released a statement Saturday in response to the Monday protest that included tear gas and riot gear.
“I am aware there are questions and concerns being expressed about the protest in our City [sic] on Monday evening,” Simpson wrote. “We take those questions seriously and are prepared to provide transparency concerning the actions of the Bentonville Police Department, actions of our officers, as well as everything else we observed during the event.”
During Monday’s protest, police used tear gas on protesters. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office first issued warnings to disperse, according to Facebook posts.
Later in the evening, law enforcement donning riot gear faced a crowd from the courthouse steps.
“Like everyone else, our observations of what occurred in Minneapolis has caused us pain, as it has many others,” Simpson wrote. “We trust that the criminal justice system will properly address what happened there. There is no question that black lives do matter.”
Simpson noted the problems associated with increased tension at the demonstration.
“We respect the right for peaceful protest and recognize this as part of our democracy,” Simpson wrote. “However, we do not condone the use of violence and destruction of property or unlawful behavior that creates an unsafe environment. Our job is to protect and serve ALL citizens.”
Simpson reiterated his commitment to Bentonville.
“I have served the members of this community for over 26 years and I am committed to doing the right thing, the right way,” Simpson wrote. “I am committed to this City and the people who live here.”