ROCK SPRINGS — On Monday, June 1, the Rock Springs Police Department was notified of a local protest and met with the coordinator, Andi Nations.
Nations advised the protest would take place on Sunday, June 7 from noon to 3 pm in the downtown Rock Springs area, specifically F and 2nd Street. She further advised the protest would have a follow-up candlelight vigil from 5-7 pm in Bunning Park on the same day. These protests were to bring awareness to the events in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and were not to disparage the RSPD.
The following day, Chief Dwane Pacheco was contacted by Nations who advised the event had been changed to a four-day event starting on Friday and ending on Monday with the vigil at Bunning Park still planned, but the time was changed to 7-9 pm.
Nations coordinated the event on Sunday, June 7 and Monday, June 8. Those responsible for the planned events on Friday, June 5, and Saturday, June 6, were identified however, they did not return messages.
Protesters have been congregating near the large flag pole on Dewar Drive to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd all week. Chief Pacheco has made it a point to stop by and check on these protesters daily.
The first question to the protesters by the chief was to see how they were treated by officers of the RSPD and by the community. All of the men and women, both young and old, said the RSPD had been great and had even arrested an intoxicated man who was harassing them.
They have received more good than bad comments, honks of support and the people of Rock Springs have even given them water, snacks and food.
The protesters and Chief Pacheco, along with several of the Rock Springs police officers, took photos near the City of Rock Springs sign that reads “Home of 56 Nationalities”.
The officers answered the protesters questions about their right to demonstrate, law enforcement use of force, and the Chief’s opinion of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. Following is a synopsis of the answers to these questions:
● The RSPD will protect and defend the rights of citizens to assemble and protest peacefully.
● The RSPD will utilize only that force which is objectively reasonable and necessary to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the lives of the officers and others.
● The death of Floyd at the hands of law enforcement should never be tolerated and the badges of law enforcement are forever tarnished due to the actions of one officer and the inaction of other officers who stood by and did nothing.
● The RSPD has invested countless hours, days and years to foster and develop partnerships and effective dialogue with all citizens and our community which includes schools, faith communities, businesses and non-profit organizations. We hold our agency to the highest standards and Chief Pacheco is proud to stand with and by his fellow professional Peace Officers.
The RSPD looks forward to a peaceful weekend and respectful continued dialogue with all citizens of the community.