Protests block traffic and light up downtown Allentown with calls to “defund the police”

Written by on July 14, 2020

Protests block traffic and light up downtown Allentown with calls to “defund the police”

By Tyler Pratt

July 14, 2020

Allentown police have released a new video of Saturday’s incident showing police restraining a man in an apparent health crisis at St. Luke’s hospital. It came after protesters blocked traffic for hours Monday evening in protest of how the individual was treated. WLVR’s Tyler Pratt was there and filed this report. 

Helicopter sounds and shouts to defund the police lit up downtown Monday evening. Justan Parker of Lehigh Valley Black Lives Matter was one of many speakers.

“If there is an emergency what are the three numbers you are taught to call? 911 Who do you call when the cops are the ones we need to call on,” said Parker.

Protesters walked through the streets of downtown Allentown, causing traffic to stop.

Hundreds marched through the streets. Stopping at the Lehigh County Jail, the crowd took a knee. As the mother of a teen accusing Whitehall police of using excessive force at a basketball game in January shared her story. 

“And as I looked on the video I watched the police smash my son’s head into bleachers. And I watched his friends roll down bleachers…”

Protesters began to gather in the City Center around 5 p.m. Monday evening.

Later, as many protesters were wrapping up, a man collapsed behind a nearby 7/11.  Protesters rushed to his aid, followed by six police cars. There was no violence, but the police presence did disrupt the crowd. Chloe Wilson worked to calm protesters. 

“Our people are upset, they’re hurt, they’re poor – that’s one thing – two, there aren’t adequate services and there are so many needs we are not addressing as a city.” 

The protesters dispersed around 8 o’clock and some talked of showing up again to the Allentown city Council meeting Wednesday. 

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