On Saturday May 30, 2020 a demonstration was held in Lancaster in front and near the Lancaster Bureau of Police station at 39 W. Chestnut Street starting at approximately 1100 am and continuing throughout the day. Police say several hundred people in attendance with the majority of the demonstration being peaceful. According to authorities there were some agitators within the crowd trying to incite confrontations police.
Around 8PM the size of the crowd of protesters involved was about 15 people and police re-opened the 1st block of West Chestnut Street to vehicle traffic and have the remaining protesters move to the sidewalk. Police say protesters moved traffic barricades from the police station and used them to block Chestnut St. The police bureau received calls through County Communications that the group continued to block traffic and kick cars stopped at the traffic light or trying to turn onto Chestnut Street we also received calls from area residents about the noise made by the individuals.
At the direction of Chief Berkihiser officers attempted to peacefully open the street and engage in dialogue with the group to ask them to move to the sidewalk. Police say they they went to move the barricades that were in the street there was a male, later identified as Eddie Gonzalez-Fox, aged 21, attempting to incite the remaining protesters. Authorities allege one individual had to be physically moved out of the street and continued to refuse to leave and eventually pulled away from an arrest and ran off.
Police say the majority of the crowd had already complied with the request to move to the sidewalk, but Gonzalez-Fox and another unidentified male refused to comply. Gonzalez-Fox picked up a traffic barricade and threw it at (2) Police Officers. Gonzalez-Fox then ran south on North Prince Street.
About the same time as Gonzalez-Fox threw the sign and fled the scene, the remaining protesters became agitated and yelled at the officers police say. The decision was made to disperse the crowd. When the protesters refused to comply and leave the area a small amount of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray in a short burst, commonly referred to as pepper spray, was used toward people that were still in the intersection of N. Prince St. and W. Chestnut St.
Police say Gonzalez-Fox fled on foot and was apprehended on the 100 block W. Chestnut St. Gonzalez-Fox was transported to the station. Gonzalez-Fox also had an active warrant for his arrest through the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. A criminal complaint against Gonzalez-Fox charging him with Riot (F3), (2) Counts Simple Assault (M2), Disorderly Conduct (M3) and Obstructing Administration of Law or other Governmental Function (M2). Gonzalez-Fox was placed on record and held for arraignment. Bail was set at $10,000 (10%). Lancaster County Adult Probation lodged a detainer against Gonzalez-Fox. Officers are working to positively identify a second subject involved with Gonzalez-Fox for similar activity and will face similar charges once identified.
Authorities say a 10-year-old boy that had been with an adult at the scene of the protest. The child was seated on a curb at the time OC spray was used. The child suffered minimal irritation as a residual result of OC spray in the area. EMS was called to the scene and checked on the child. The child did not suffer any lasting irritation and was seen on video running and playing after EMS had checked him. In a statement police said;
It is unfortunate this 10 year old child was exposed to the OC spray. The police bureau did not place the child in that area and we did not see the child when the small amount of OC spray was used in the opposite direction of the child. The Lancaster Bureau of Police would like to point out that the protest held on May 30, 2020 lasted nearly (10) hours and several hundred people, if not more, attended throughout the day. Gonzalez-Fox was the only arrest made by the Lancaster Bureau of Police in relation to the protest.
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