What was supposed to be a small gathering in St. Johnsbury to protest the recent death of a black man while in police custody turned out to be larger than expected. About 100 protesters gathered in front of the post office, calling for an end to corruption in the criminal justice system.
“Violence has been going on for centuries and I’m ready for a change,” said Siniah Yates. “And every protest, I’m out here hoping for peace and that that protest will end the hate. This was a pretty great turnout, especially considering Vermont, this is a pretty small town.”
St. Johnsbury Police Chief Tim Paige says four people were ultimately arrested for disorderly conduct. He says it all began when a protester blocking traffic would not move unless he was arrested.
“I have no problem with what is going on today,” Paige said. “They said it was gonna be a peaceful rally, they said ten people, it looks like a few more than ten, if they stay outta the sidewalks, roadways and I’ve really got no problem.”
Peter Cogliano, a participant in the protest, said he was there to “show support, and try to preach the message that this is an everybody issue.
“This isn’t us versus them, this isn’t the people verse the police, this is us through a broken system,” he said.
In a video sent in by a protester, we can see protesters swarming Police Officers while trying to arrest a man. Then while police are trying to pull protesters away who were blocking the entrance to the police station, a girl is pushed out of the way and falls down the stairs.
Town Manager Chad Whitehead says the town has contacted a private investigator to look into the incident that unfolded in front of the Police Station. He claims the investigation will “provide and unbiased perspective of the events that took place so that we can act appropriately.”