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Eight people arrested following Sunday protest in Butler

May 31, 2020 News Extra

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Butler police arrested eight people following Sunday afternoon's protest on Main Street near the county courthouse.

The arrests started about 8:10 p.m. when two protesters got into an altercation at Diamond Park, according to police.

When authorities tried to break up the altercation, one of the protesters allegedly bit an officer on the leg.

The suspect was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer. The officer was not injured.

Other arrests included charges of terroristic threats, resisting arrest and five for failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.

"The order was issued to disperse to everyone due to it being an unlawful assembly," said Butler Police Chief Bob O’Neill in a press release. "The command was given numerous times and officers then began to clear the area. It took approximately one hour and the entire Main Street area was cleared."

O'Neill said that between 300 and 400 people were assembled in downtown Butler, adding that the protest remained "non-violent" for much of the day. He said the protest was allowed to continue until the fight broke out and the crowd became unruly, started assaulting officers as they were blocking the street, and refused to follow police orders to disperse.

The police chief said senior leaders met with the Butler County Sheriff, Butler Township Police, county detectives, and the Butler County ESU team and developed a plan early Sunday after receiving numerous calls from concerned citizens about social media posts circulating about "riots" in downtown.

Numerous officers from surrounding agencies were also brought in to help.

The suspects were placed in the Butler County Prison and are awaiting arraignment on charges.

The protest was one of dozens across the country this past week in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Protests began in Minneapolis following Floyd's death May 25 after a police officer pressed a knee on his neck until he stopped breathing,

To read more about Sunday's protests in downtown Butler, make sure to pick up a copy of Monday's Butler Eagle or subscribe online.

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