A planned peaceful protest is set for this evening at 6 p.m. around the Lamar County Courthouse with organizers and local law enforcement expecting a larger crowd than at previous events.
For safety reasons, Cass said N. Main Street in front of the courthouse will be closed to traffic which was also requested by protest organizers.
“We respect the citizens right to peaceful protest and we expect it to stay peaceful and that’s what we want,” said Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass.
While police presence hasn’t been as visible during previous protests, both Cass and Hundley said officers will be more visible this evening for safety reasons.
“We aren’t trying to intimidate anybody,” said Paris Chief of Police Bob Hundley. “We want these people to have their say and firmly believe in the constitutional right to peacefully protest. We just want to make sure everybody stays safe especially with the road closed down.”
The protest this evening will be the third protest to take place in downtown Paris since the death of George Floyd in which organizers said they were protesting in line with nationwide protests against police brutality and in support of justice for the family of George Floyd.
During the last protest, those in attendance marched around the fountain downtown before concluding at the Confederate monument outside the Lamar County Courthouse. Since then, a petition to remove the statue has begun circulating. A petition to keep the statue has also been created.
Organizers of the protest this evening said several people will be making speeches and the names of all black men killed by police officers will be read before a march around the courthouse is expected. They expect and want the protest to stay peaceful.
“We want these people to have their say and stay safe,” said Hundley.
Cass added, “Neither of us is trying to stop anyone from peacefully protesting and we hope it stays peaceful.”