by Kris Richards
As a planned protest loomed at the end of the week last week, Friday, July 24th, to be held at the County Courthouse, the area was uneasy, not knowing what to expect. Many expected and planned for the worst, hoping for the best.
An impromptu Prayer Vigil was put together for Thursday, July 23rd at the Courthouse lawn. The group gathered at 6 p.m., coordinated by Pastor Bill Brammer and supported by several area Pastors and public.
A number of prayers were offered for the wisdom and resolve of the community, the officers and the public involved.
Potosi Police Chief Mike Gum and family attended and he thanked everyone for their support and concern. He offered, “It is great to see so many here and your support is sincerely appreciated. We ask that everyone just stay home, stay away and we won’t have any issues.”
Over 50 people got together on Thursday to pray for Friday, and beyond. Praying for the community, the State and the Nation as everyone faces so many challenges together.
The group represented several local denominations and church groups. It was good to see the community come together for a common good.
The protest on Friday, July 24th began slowly, growing throughout the evening, with more people adding to the crowd as the night went on.
A vocal group seemed most interested in drowning out ‘the other side’ across High Street most of the night.
Chief of Police Mike Gum and Sheriff Zach Jacobsen both had expressed their thoughts, publicly, in person as well as through social media, asking people to ‘just stay away’. Both Gum and Jacobsen had said, “if we don’t have an audience then there won’t be a ‘show’.”
Chief Gum reported only one arrest on the evening with most everyone cooperating with the officers on duty.
Gum said, “We had approximately 30 officers on duty, between City Police, Sheriff’s Department and Highway Patrol.” He went on, “we were prepared and the public were pretty good overall.”
Some of the worries that had been talked about before the event did not happen, to many’s relief. The protestors did seem to have a common thread for their protest as several signs and comments were directed toward many different issues.
Chief Gum said they were all thankful that everyone remained calm and he was able to report no vandalism or destruction of property.
Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said, “We stayed with the groups through the evening. At 9:30 p.m. we talked to some of the group at the Courthouse and informed them that the event had been promoted to end at 10 p.m. and the officers were going at that time. Those at the Courthouse asked for escorts to their vehicles and left at about 9:30 p.m.
The area was cleaned up and things were back to normal for the Farmers Market on Saturday morning at the Courthouse.
Perhaps, if the community has to deal with a ‘protest’ again, everyone here can find another form of entertainment and let the show go on without the audience.