A video has gone viral on social media of a group of armed white residents watching Black Lives Matter protestors walk past them in Crown Point, Indiana. After George Floyd died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter protests have swept the nation.
This specific protest took place on Monday, June 1. The video was shared on Twitter by a user named Bella Gomez. The clip shows at least eight men holding firearms as protestors walk past them. In Indiana, it is legal to carry a shotgun or rifle in public, however, a resident needs a permit to carry a sidearm.
In the video Gomez shared, a black man is seen holding a sign that says: “My Life Matters.” Police are seen at the end of the video monitoring the situation.
Gomez tweeted: “in [Valpo] on saturday protesters were met with cupcakes and pizza today in crown point we were met with anti-protesters, automatic weapons, and hatred. very disappointed to see a place i know and love be filled with so much hatred for those standing up for what is right.”
She also wrote: “a video from when we took the BIKE TRAIL back to our cars after police advised us to because of the amount of people standing by the street with their bats and guns.. these men followed us- if the cops weren’t there i genuinely don’t know what would have happened.”
Gomez then tweeted that the Crown Point Police Department did a “great job of protecting [protesters]” from counter-protesters who were “trying to instigate the situation” into a fight.
Here is the video:
Cedric Caschetta was the demonstrator who was seen holding the “My Life Matters” sign in the video, according to TMZ. He told POLITICO that protesters were antagonized by some residents. Caschetta said the opposition shouted, “Get a job,” You’re the problem” and “You don’t belong here.”
Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land Said the Men Have a Right to Be Armed
During a virtual forum, Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land confirmed that the armed individuals were private citizens with their personally owned rifles, POLITICO reported. The men are not a part of the Crown Point Police Department, Land said.
The police chief said that the individuals had “a right to do that” and were protected under state law.
Police accompanied the demonstrators during the three-hour peaceful march against racism and police brutality. Land said, “[We] made sure their message got out. We agreed with their message. Crown Point is not Minneapolis,” POLITICO reported.
In a virtual forum on Monday, Crown Point Mayor David Uran said, “It was a peaceful demonstration,” the outlet reported. He said, “They were allowed to be out there. The tone was set very early that this was gonna be very peaceful.”
The Reaction on Twitter to the Viral Video Has Been Mixed
Since Gomez posted the video on June 1, the clip has amassed over 500,000 views. The comments on the video have been mixed. One user wrote: “From my point of view just looks like some Americans protecting there hard earn money from who ever threatens them there prepared just saying no hard feelings.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Ignorant people. Was very proud of hearing how the CP protest went/was and significantly disheartened and disappointed by those residents. Keep on keepin’ on.”
One person tweeted: “If you weren’t looting and burning stores there wouldn’t be a response like this you know right?”
Another said, “They’re so afraid of people with signs that they need to stand out there with their guns???”