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Fort Wayne Unity March, Protests Remain Peaceful Into Friday

Fort Wayne community members and city leaders joined together Thursday to march from the Allen County Courthouse to the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge as a sign of unity.

 

The march began at 4 p.m. with people gathering on the Courthouse green before moving to Clinton Street, which police had closed down. Mayor Tom Henry, Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed and Allen County Sheriff David Gladeiux, along with other officials from various Fort Wayne institutions met protesters on Clinton Street and linked arms to walk to the bridge.

 

City officials and march organizers praised the event as positive. Protesters were given an opportunity to sign a list of demands to submit to local law enforcement regarding police reforms.

 

Among the large group of protesters were members of the Church of God in Warsaw, IN. Brother Stephen Hargrave spoke during the protest on Saturday and joined the march yesterday. He says the march is a good first step, but that it needs to continue.

 

“There’s a gulf between police and the community. It’s been there a long time, not just in Fort Wayne, but just generally. So, I understood this to be just the beginning, an effort to show some kind of reasonability and that we can have some ongoing dialogue in a regular manner to affect some change that’s needed in the community.”

At the bridge, several leaders from the city and from the protest spoke before turning and heading back to the courthouse. On the way back, they came to a blockade formed by counter protesters who saw the march as disingenuous.

The counter protesters quickly dispersed and moved to the Courthouse Green where they had their own short speeches about the dangers of pacification. 

According to police, it was the fourth straight protest without any arrest or incident.

 

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.