BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman spoke to media on Tuesday after a peaceful protest turned into an unlawful gathering late last night.
Watch Mayor Orman speak to members of the media in the video above.
Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway released the following statement on the department’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon.
Last night the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, along with surrounding agencies, attended a Black Lives Matter Protest on the Benton County Square, located in Bentonville Arkansas.
What began as a peaceful protest, allowing people to use their voice under the 1st Amendment, turned into destruction of county property, vandalism and safety concerns to those attending the protest. Police cars were damaged, urine, rocks, frozen bottles of water and bottle rockets were thrown at the law enforcement officers that were there to protect and keep safe those attending the protest. At this point, the peaceful protest became an unlawful assembly and people were told to leave. Even with warning the violence continued to escalate. In attempt to deescalate the situation, law enforcement deployed tear gas to seperate the crowd and force them to leave.
It was evident many were in attendance to peacefully have their voices heard. However, when acts become violent, it becomes a danger to the public and we must ensure safety of all.
Thank you to the following agencies for assisting in last night effort to maintain a safe environment: Bentonville Police Department, Rogers Police Department, Bella Vista Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Centerton Police Department, Lowell Police Department, Springdale Police Department, Pea Ridge Police Department, Siloam Springs Police Department, Cave Springs Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
We would like to thank those within the community who took the time pick up trash, provide water and support in peaceful attendance.Sheriff Shawn Holloway