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Fort Dodge protest, vigil set peaceful tone

Local residents show how to make a point without violence

In many American cities, clouds of smoke and shards of broken glass have come to symbolize the outrage over the death of George Floyd, who suffocated under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Floyd was black; the officer is white. The anger over the death united people of all races.

The anger reached a flashpoint in many of America’s biggest cities and the result has been looting and arson.

Fortunately, that has not happened in Fort Dodge even though citizens of every race and nationality here are also angry about the situation. But the Fort Dodge community has recently put on a convincing demonstration of how to protest without rioting.

On Sunday evening, about 100 people gathered in the City Square and then marched to the Webster County Law Enforcement Center in the 700 block of First Avenue South. The group made that loop a couple of times. There was a lot of chanting and shouting, but nothing was damaged and no one was hurt.

The professionalism of the Fort Dodge Police Department was on full display during that protest. To keep everyone safe, the police actually escorted the marchers with a patrol vehicle. Assistant Police Chief Cory Husske walked with them. The officers remained unflappable.

Then on Tuesday evening, roughly 200 people gathered outside Dodger Stadium for a candlelight vigil organized by Sherry Washington and Councilwoman Lydia Schuur. Washington is black; Schuur is white. A cross section of the local population held lighted candles and listened to speeches. But again, nothing violent happened.

Let’s keep it that way. Rioting won’t bring back George Floyd and it won’t send that former Minnesota officer to prison, either.

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