Oakwood: Black Lives Matter rally likely to cause traffic issues on Ohio 48

Drivers are being encouraged to use an alternative route to Ohio 48 in Oakwood due to a Black Lives Matter rally this evening in the city.

The city of Oakwood is making that recommendation for motorists of the state route, also called Far Hills Avenue, according to its website.

The rally is planned from 6-8 p.m. at Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave.

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Police are staging on Shafor Boulevard one block from Far Hills Avenue in preparation for the rally, and Shafor Boulevard is blocked at Smith Elementary School, which is east of the library.

“Rally organizers and the Oakwood Public Safety Department have worked together to make this a safe and peaceful event,” the city’s website states. “Traffic along Far Hills Avenue during the hours of the planned rally may become congested.”

Ohio 48 runs through Dayton, Centerville, Kettering and Oakwood.

Black Lives Matter Miami Valley’s Facebook page confirms its participation in the event, which was organized by Oakwood residents.

Sarah Filipiak of Oakwood said what organizers “want is to bring together a group of allies in our city and surrounding cities to engage and educate for action in support of the BLM movement.”

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The rally follows several nationwide and Dayton-area protests and events in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis, Minn., man who died in police custody May 25.

Ahead of the rally, Oakwood Public Safety Director Alan Hall posted an open letter to residents on the city’s website, saying the actions of the Minnesota officers involved in Floyd’s death shocked people across the country, and police officers everywhere.

“What happened to Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis that day goes against all that is taught about professional policing,” Hall’s letter states. “It violates every tenet of policing, every principle of law enforcement, and every mission, vision and value statement associated with police work. The May 25 actions in Minneapolis sicken police officers everywhere.

“So what now? We all need to work together to swiftly address what happened in Minneapolis in the most comprehensive way possible, and on a national scale. We need to develop very specific, concrete and measurable ways to implement personnel, operational and policy changes ... to protect the lives of all the people we serve, and need to find ways to keep bad officers out of our police ranks everywhere,” Hall stated.

This evening’s rally also comes several months after a report which indicated the city’s safety department stops and tickets black drivers at a much higher percentage than they represent in Oakwood.

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a nonprofit law firm that represents low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio, and a University of Dayton criminal justice professor released the report in late 2019.

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