Protesters clash over open-carry of semi-automatic rifle outside Allentown City Hall

Written by on July 30, 2020

Protesters clash over open-carry of semi-automatic rifle outside Allentown City Hall

By Tyler Pratt

July 30, 2020

As Allentown officials discussed what the future of policing may look like in the city Wednesday night, many people gathered outside council chambers – which were closed to the public. Both advocates of police reform and supporters of law enforcement raised their voices downtown. And as WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, several times, the groups clashed. 

Some people held signs that read Black Lives Matter and No More Racist Police terror. On the other side of the building a larger group prayed aloud, chanted  “All Lives Matter” and were joined by a group of pro-police bikers. 

At times the groups merged in heated confrontations.

Several centered around a man, Brandon Shoepflin, waving a Trump flag and openly carrying firearms, one being an AR-15 rifle. Shoepflin, who is white said he brought the gun for protection. 

“I just want to make sure that everyone here is safe because both sides have started some riots and fights and I just want to deter that from happening.”

Justin Matilla who is Puerto Rican said Shoepflin’s show of force was meant to incite fear. 

“That’s supposed to intimidate us? No, So i’m going to come over here with my 15-20 people. Lets see who tucks their tail in first because at the end of the day that’s a scare tactic, they come over here with their guns drawn, with the vest and things like that.” 

Shoepflin, and almost all the police supporters left early, while the meeting continued. The majority of Black Lives Matter supporters remained, and listening on speakers outside, cheered and banged on the windows in response to the discussion inside.

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