The Black Lives Matter – Boise protest is over but disputes over what happened that day are still being debated.
Citizens from both sides are debating who was peaceful and not peaceful and who instigated physical confrontations.
However, the citizens aren’t the only ones discussing what really happened that day. Elected officials and the police department in Boise are also at some disagreement of the cause of violence on Tuesday.
The Boise police union has released a statement that contradicts what Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said about Tuesday’s event.
On Wednesday morning, the day after the protest, Mayor McLean released a statement on Facebook.
Here is her statement in full:
Last night our community witnessed – and many of our residents experienced – physical violence and intimidation by counter protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest at City Hall. Peaceful protest was the goal of the protesters who gathered – to speak their truths and call on us as leaders to take action. We have a right to do this, without intimidation and fear of violence, and it’s movements like we see right now that have spurred progress throughout our history.
In recent weeks on Tuesday evenings, protesters have assembled at City Hall and called for action. I’ve stepped into the crowd to listen when I can. Last night’s gathering would have been similar if not for the efforts to intimidate, and potentially incite additional violence, by counter protesters. I condemn those who showed up in our community under the guise of “protection” and instead intimidated, shouted epithets and white nationalist slogans, and in some cases physically assaulted protesters. There is no room for this in our city. There is no room for this in our democratic society that enshrines the right to protest peacefully, dialogue constructively, and come together to build a stronger and more just community.
We reached out to Mayor McLean previously and asked if she was present at the event and witnessed any of the incidents she is referencing.
She has not yet responded to those questions as of this writing.
McLean says in her statement that counter-protesters are at fault for the physical altercations that took place. Does the mayor believe that Black Lives Matter protesters were innocent in all physical confrontations that took place?
We hope that she will be able to clarify that question for the citizens of Boise.
The Boise Police Union is disputing Mayor McLean’s claim and released the following statement about Tuesday’s BLM protest:
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean released a statement late Tuesday after the Black Lives Matter rally at Boise City Hall. The mayor asserted that the protest would have been peaceful “if not for the efforts to intimidate, and potentially incite additional violence, by counter protesters.”
“We hold a slightly different view of what happened at the rally on Tuesday evening,” said Chad Wigington, President of the Boise chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. There were multiple bad actors at the event on Tuesday, which were not limited to counter protestors. We also contend that there were very few violent incidents and that most attendees at the rally exercised restraint when their tempers flared.”
Tuesday’s rally was attended by three general groups: Black Lives Matter protesters calling to defund police, a large number of “counter protesters,” who were every day Idahoans showing their support for police, and a third group of people who protested against the Black Lives Matter group. The third group included some antagonists who did not seem to have the same goals as the counter protesters who peacefully gathered to “Defend Police, not Defund Police.”
“We are and will continue to remain unbiased when we, as police officers, help to facilitate the exercise of Constitutional rights,” said Wigington. “We value the role we play in bringing the community together and keeping our community safe. We will continue to remain neutral and fully investigate any acts of violence, as we have sworn an oath to do.”
In this statement, Mr. Chad Wigington, the President of Boise’s police union, said that individuals from both sides had bad actors.
Additionally, the Boise police union is stating that very few physical altercations took place and that the event was mostly peaceful despite flaring tempers.
Because of this disparity between the police and mayor’s accounts of the event, we sent a message to Mayor McLean on Facebook and asked her if she stands by her statement that counter-protesters were the cause of physical altercations on Tuesday. We have not yet heard back from the mayor but will update the article if she responds.
The Boise police union was not the only organization that disputed the mayor’s claims.
The Fraternal Order of Police (Lodge 11) also said they disagreed with Mayor McLean’s statement she made on Facebook.
Here is the full statement from the FOP:
The executive board of the Fraternal Order of Police Treasure Valley Lodge #11 would like to thank both the protesters and counter protesters who exercised their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble on Tuesday at Boise City Hall. We would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of members of our communities that showed up in support of our local police departments and this great country.
We respectfully disagree with Boise Mayor McLean’s assessment of the situation. Overall, the vast majority of people expressed their voices peacefully. There were only a few instances in which anger got the best of people, but those actions were not limited to people on any one side of the issue. The incidents of reported violence are currently under investigation, and we have full faith in the Boise Police Department to investigate and bring charges against offenders regardless of their affiliation with either side of the protest. We do not condone violence and appreciate when both sides are able to exercise their right to free speech without interference from others.
An emotional event such as Tuesday’s rally is taxing for officers. As members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we stand against racism. We have a great deal of respect for the diversity of our community, even when the same respect is not necessarily shown to us.
We also want to thank all of the officers present at Tuesday’s event for their exceptional work in keeping the event peaceful and de-escalating incidents. There are many who recognized the good work of the officers. Many have noticed that there has been no use of force by police at recent protests and rallies in Boise. We again thank those who take notice and support local law-enforcement as we also go through these difficult times.
The FOP statement thanks both sides for showing up to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Additionally, the FOP thanked those who showed up to express their support for local law enforcement.
The statement reiterates their opposition to racism and their respect for diversity. The statement also says that they have this respect despite the same respect not being shown to them.
This may refer to the signs and chants heard from BLM protesters of “Fu** the police” and “All Cops Are Bastards.”
When it comes to the physical violence that occurred, they also claim that both sides had bad actors who were causing problems.
The Boise Police Department is investigating several incidents from that evening.
The FOP says that they expect the BPD to do the investigations and charge those at fault accordingly, no matter what side their are on.
Tags: Black Lives Matter, Boise, Boise Police, Fraternal Order of Police, Lauren McLean