Huber city leaders, NAACP discuss planned Saturday protest

Protests about the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of police are planned to spill into the weekend locally. One of those protests will be in Huber Heights on Saturday.

Huber Heights city leaders and Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP, held a press conference Thursday at the Dayton NAACP headquarters, at 1528 W. Third Street in Dayton.

Foward said protests will likely continue to happen until the Minneapolis police officers who were a part of Floyd’s death are convicted.

“They have been charged, not convicted,” Foward said. “Until there is a conviction, this is just me thinking, until there is a conviction and America and the world hear the words ‘guilty as charged,’ I believe there will still be movements up until that time. Once they get those convictions, I think the souls of America will rest a little.”

The group discussed a protest that is planned to take place in Huber Heights on Saturday. Both the city of Huber Heights and the Dayton NAACP support the protest.

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The protest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the NorthPark Shopping Center on Old Troy Pike. The Dayton Unit NAACP will hold a voter registration drive at the protest, said Foward.

“That way protesters’ voices can be felt at the polls on November 3, 2020,” Foward said.

Foward sent his “heartfelt condolences” to the family of Floyd.

“It’s just an unspeakable act to watch a man die on television,” Foward said.

Huber Heights Chief of Police Mark Lightner said police plan to protect the protesters and property owners.

“We have no reason to believe the organizers want nothing more than a peaceful protest to occur, and they have been responsible in making that message clear,” Lightner said. “We will not allow anyone to take away from the importance of our citizens expressing their rights or take away from the importance of the true message of the protest as we continue working toward a cure for this and other injustices.”

Shortly before the press conference, the Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce posted a Facebook post about keeping businesses and employees safe during a protest. The post stated that “rioters cannot be reasoned with,” “bought off,” and “rioters will not be scared off by your gun or warnings,” and urged businesses not to worry about protecting their property during a protest.

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In response to the Chamber of Commerce post, Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore said he was “personally offended by the language” in the statement.

“During these challenging times we should be focused on uniting our community not furthering the divide,” the mayor’s post said.

City Manager Rob Schommer said the city wants to uphold city laws and the U.S. Constitution.

“We want to make sure those that choose to speak out, their voice can be adequately heard rather than muffled through a bunch of noise of a bunch of troublemakers coming in,” Schommer said.

Gore said there is no planned curfew on Saturday, but said if the protest turned violent, the city could decide to institute one.

Foward encouraged everyone who attends the protest on Saturday to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

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