Local gun store shares concern about possible rioting at a planned peaceful BLM protest

Written by on September 2, 2020

Local gun store shares concern about possible rioting at a planned peaceful BLM protest

By Tyler Pratt

September 2, 2020

Protesters gathered August 31 in Whitehall Township to bring attention to a lawsuit against the area police and school district. Photo| Tyler Pratt

This week more than 50 Black Lives Matters supporters gathered peacefully in Whitehall Township – to bring attention to a lawsuit against the area police and the school district. It alleges police used excessive force against children of color at a basketball game earlier this year. The event was also attended by counter-protestors, after an alert was sent out by a local gun shop.

Lawyers, local politicians and BLM activists used Monday’s rally to shed light on civil rights issues in the Valley and beyond. Standing to the side watching, in the rain, was a small group of men, mostly white. Tighe Hillegas stood father away waving an American flag, next to an old police cruiser with a cardboard cutout out of President Trump inside.

“The article that was sent to me was that Antifa were going to be involved in this. Maybe that was a little fake I don’t see a lot of Antifa over there,” said Hillegas. 

Relic Hunter Firing Line had posted about the event online. The Coplay shop’s Facebook page includes posts about Black Lives Matter and connections with “rioting, burning and looting around the country.”

Hilgas said he wished more people had shown up to keep an eye on the rally. When asked what he planned to do if things did get heated he said, “That’s the fun part huh? I’d scream and yell and defend as much as I could. Hopefully they’ll come to the plate and talk to me but if they come to the plate to fight me I’ll lose.”

Allison Mickel was one of the BLM supporters in attendance. 

“I’m not sure what’s scary about this group of people. Look at this you have people huddled together sharing umbrellas, people giving each other hugs, people sharing bringing hand sanitizer, what is scary about this there is nothing scary we’re here to heal.”

While the rally attendees had some pointed words for the sideline onlookers, the protest remained peaceful. But the group said they planned to continue staying loud in the Lehigh Valley. 

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