SAXONBURG — Residents were up in arms Wednesday afternoon after a social media fueled rumor sparked concerns that out-of-town protesters would run amok in the borough.
The death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis has sparked protests, some violent, across the country.
Those reports led to residents lining Saxonburg's West Main Street, many dressed in army fatigues, armed with assault rifles and pistols.
About 15 police officers and other authorities converged on the borough in anticipation of violence, Saxonburg Police Chief Joe Beachem said.
But the violence never materialized. Instead, a handful of area residents gathered to protest the death of Floyd.
“Every human is made in the image of God but if you don't believe that, it's hard to see them as valuable as yourself,” said Ben Case, 29, who is youth and adult director at Saxonburg Presbyterian Church. “I think that's why people don't understand why black lives matter.”
Jason Hicks, 29, of Sarver said he respected peaceful protests but he and his group, The Minutemen, arrived armed after they heard a rumor on Facebook that there might be protesters from Pittsburgh showing up.
“We support what cops do. What one cop did doesn't represent the greater Blue Line,” Hicks said. “There are a lot of business owners here to protect their property.”
This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Friday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.