Spencer Mayor Outlines Preparations Being Made In Advance Of Protest Scheduled For Thursday In That City

Tue 6-2-2020

(Spencer)-- Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson late Tuesday gave a further update on a protest planned for Thursday in that city. Robinson said he had spoken with the organizers again earlier in the day...Protest preparations01 

"They feel it is part of their responsibility to acknowledge that while many of these events happen in some of the largest communities in the United States of America that they also happen in smaller towns across the country and they would like to be the voice of the smaller community to bring awareness to here. I have had questions about if the four organizers live in Spencer. I believe two if not maybe three of the four have lived in Spencer at times in their life. They don't currently live in town but they have resided in town, have interacted in town, have spent their money in town and have worked in town I believe."

Robinson said he and city staff have also been following up on rumors indicating several busloads of people were coming to Spencer for the protest...Protest preparations02 

"We've tracked everyone of those leads down and have no reason to believe that those are credible. I'm not saying that those buses aren't coming, I'm saying that we have not been able to validate any of those rumors. And anytime we do hear something we follow that up. I would also like you as the citizens, if you do hear something or you do feel that there is a legitimate lead on something that could impact the community on Thursday night, please forward that information to city hall and we will do what we can to track that down."

Robinson said he was assured by the organizers Thursday's event will be peaceful, but he says the city is taking the necessary precautions none-the-less...Protest preparations03 

"We are bringing extra law enforcement presence into the community. We've reached out to surrounding communities and as I said at the beginning the local and county and state law enforcement have a coordinated effort so you will see a larger police presence than you would normally see in the downtown area and we're not doing that because we think there will be a problem; we're doing that to help prevent a problem. Public safety as I said at the beginning is one of our number one priorities and we will put every measure in place to protect the citizens of Spencer."

Robinson says there are several things authorities will be keeping a close eye on...Protest preparations04 

"Destruction of property will not be tolerated; vandalism will not be tolerated; disruption of traffic will not be tolerated; and any incendiary behavior that would incite a crowd will not be tolerated. If these behaviors become observed during the march those people will be addressed accordingly and removed. When it comes to disruption of traffic one of the main concerns I have is that Highway 71 and Highway 18 run north and south obviously through town. We have an obligation to keep those open. We have to keep the bridge open. So you'll see some added law enforcement in that area. We're working with the organizers so that everyone is safe and I want to reiterate that. We want everyone to be safe."

Robinson encourages businesses in Spencer to leave both their interior and exterior lights on Thursday evening. He adds all parks in the city will be closing at 9:00 pm Thursday by executive order. He says that action is being taken as an added precaution.

Robinson says he's also been in contact with the Governor's Office on the matter.

Thursday's protest march in honor of George Floyd will begin at 5:00 pm at East Leech Park and will proceed to the police station and courthouse before going back to East Leech Park. It's scheduled to conclude at 8:00 pm.