The interim chief of police of Nevada City, California is speaking out after a violent counter-protest that broke out at a Black Lives Matter rally Sunday.
The original protest for Black Lives was described as peaceful. Video from the Sacramento Bee shows a group of counter-protesters in Trump attire attacking the BLM supporters. According to Chief Chad Ellis, a member of the City Council was among those who were assaulted. The police department has since opened a criminal investigation.
Below is the statement released by Chief Ellis.
As many of you have heard, Sunday evening there was a Black Lives Matter protest/march in Nevada City. Historically, Nevada City has been a place where peaceful protest are welcomed and encouraged by the community at large. During yesterday evenings peaceful Black Lives Matter protest participants were met by a group of counter-protesters who appeared to have no purpose other than to bring controversy and conflict to the streets of Nevada City. The Black Lives Matter protesters consisted of local community members and not people “bussed in” as rumors suggest.
Over the course of the day, I have had the opportunity to review several different video clips of the conflict provided to me by the community. I was both appalled and disappointed by the behavior of the counter-protesters.
The counter-protesters waived the thin blue line flag as a show of support for the police, however the actions and behavior did nothing more than put the community in danger. It appeared they were using the flag to show unity and connection with the police which was a falsehood.
The Nevada City Police Department had 3 officers on duty at the time of the protest. Given the extremely volatile situation the officers attempted to manage the crowd and prevent any additional escalated violence. During the incident officers were instructing individuals to contact the police and file reports at a later time as they were inundated with the situation at hand.
The aggressive behavior by the counter-protesters towards the Black Lives Matter protesters which comprised of many women and children will absolutely not be tolerated. I also met with a Nevada City Council member today who was present at the incident and assaulted by the hostile counter-protesters.
I have launched an investigation into the incident and have assigned a special investigator to exclusively handle this case. I encourage anyone who was present at the protest and victimized by an assault, a theft, a vandalism or any other crime to please come forward and provide our investigator with a statement so we can seek criminal prosecution against those involved.
We are undoubtedly experiencing difficult and challenging times as a community and as a nation, my hope is that we can remain united and work together to combat the injustices we face as a society.
We will continue to review the video footage provided by the community as well as police body camera footage.
Investigator Angela Ford can be contacted at Angela.Ford@nevadacityca.gov
I appreciate the public reaching out to me with their concerns and firsthand accounts of what took place. It is my hope that with the correct course of action we as a community will grow stronger.