Lancaster faith leaders urge people not to attend protest Sunday morning


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Tensions are high in Lancaster City as a protest against police brutality is planned for Sunday. Local ministers and police are urging people not to come. They fear demonstrations could take a violent turn.

One of the causes for concern is because the protest is slated to start before the sun comes up and protesters plan to come wearing all black or all white and not be identifiable.

“I’m a target. They want to cover themselves up so that I cannot be identified in the midst of the mix because my friend went to jail out of fear for my safety,” said Jessica Lopez.

Lopez and two others were arrested earlier this week during another protest.

Police say she sat in the middle of the street and refused to move but Lopez says she was in a parking spot not blocking traffic.

That’s the catalyst for Sunday’s protest, against what Lopez calls over-policing in a peaceful situation.

“I hope that it teaches people that they don’t have to just comply and I hope that it shows the police department that we are here and this is our city and they will learn what it means to be a public servant,” Lopez said.

However, members of the IntraCity Progressive Pastor Association are encouraging people not to attend.

“Take your grievances to the bargaining table and the ballot box and not protest in the dark of night where there is a very real chance that violence from extremist forces may occur,” said Pastor Gerald Simmons.

Lancaster City Bureau of Police chief Jarrad Berkihiser said he’s just asking for a peaceful protest.

“We are concerned about threats of violence against our people and our building and we’re just going to take the necessary precautions for that and we’re going to take the necessary precautions to make sure that the traffic doesn’t interfere with the demonstration,” Berkihiser said.

The protest will start at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Police will have Chesnut Street closed down to protect the protesters.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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