We’ve found ourselves writing a lot about horrible local responses to riots and BLM protesting.
But I also wanted to recognize people doing it the right way, like the police in Rockford, Illinois and the prosecutor involved.
The BLM folks came out to protest both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, they came out to counter-protest a “Back the Blue” rally. But in the process the BLM people started employing one of their favorite tactics of blocking roads. Many police departments haven’t taken a tough stand on stopping this kind of tactic and it’s resulted in deaths and injuries both to the motorists and to BLM people.
But the police in Rockford and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office were having none of it.
From RR Star:
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said officers have showed restraint and have been “more than patient” during frequent protests throughout the city this summer. But he said recent actions have forced officers to act, including Friday night, when protesters formed a blockade to stop vehicles from passing through the intersection of State and Water streets.
“The citizens and the businesses of Rockford deserve to have the right to drive down the roads and conduct business and not have to worry about people coming in, just trying to scream and yell and cause chaos and incite riots,” O’Shea said. “It’s just not tolerated.”
They moved in and as usual, the marchers tried to intimidate the police and de-arrest one of their buddies. But it didn’t end well, as SWAT and a ton of police came out in force to clear the area.
Between Friday and Saturday they arrested 17 people for charges that included disorderly conduct, mob action, aggravated battery to a peace officer and resisting arrest. Two sheriff’s deputies were injured according to the local sheriff of Winnebago County.
But perhaps the best thing was the statement of the prosecutor, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross, who schooled the radicals on what the Constitution allows and what it means to “peaceably assemble.” You can see it at the start of the video here.
“The First Amendment does not give you unbridled freedom to express your message and infringe on the rights of others,” she explained.
My gosh, thank you! Finally a public official willing to say it on behalf of all Americans! Your rights don’t give you the right to trample on those of others.
The prosecutor continued, calmly calling out the BLM marchers for infringing on the rights of others to have free passage on the roads within the county. That resulted in their arrest, not for exercising their right of freedom of expression, she said, but for their alleged criminal action. So simple, so true, yet so missing from public statements on the BLM tactics. Thank you, Marilyn Hite Ross!
She then detailed all the people who were arrested, a lovely crew of people.
They tried to surround a car with a mother and kids. One man was arrested and then others tried to de-arrest him, that’s what resulted in many of the arrests.
One remaining coda to the story, the one bad note from the story? A local Democratic (of course) politician,, former Illinois Rep. Litesa Wallace raised money to help bond out those arrested Friday night.