DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton city officials are celebrating what the police chief has called an “uneventful” day after a KKK-affiliated group from Indiana held a rally at Courthouse Square Saturday afternoon.
Nine members of the Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana were contained behind a gate inside the Square, surrounded by multiple large fences separating them from counter protesters.
Police told 2 NEWS the group wanted to present themselves this way, adding that they wanted to be out of range in case people tried to throw things at them. They were given the choice to have access to the entire Square and declined.
Groups of people marched down from streets around the city to make their voices heard between 1 pm and 3 pm while the Indiana group spoke.
Over 600 officers were in the Courthouse Square area, including enforcement from the University of Dayton, Dayton Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
We want to take a moment to thank ALL of the partner agencies that helped with security at today’s events (unfortunately we don’t have room to name them all) #THANKYOU to MANY other @CityofDayton departments, @OSHP @mcohiosheriff @ColumbusPolice @ToledoPolice @CincyPD @CLEpolice— Dayton Police Dept. (@DaytonPolice) May 25, 2019
Roughly a half hour into the rally, police had to warn counter protesters not to shake the fence separating the two groups.
Mayor Nan Whaley, City Manager Shelley Dickstein, and Police Chief Richard Biehl held a press conference after the event, saying they were happy the rally came and went without incident.
No arrests were made and no injuries were reported.
“Daytonians demonstrated what we’ve known all along, that we are a community that can come together in a time of fear and anger and peacefully stand up for our neighbors,” said Mayor Whaley, who went on to say this experience “has helped shine a light on the issues that continue to divide us.”
“This ugly chapter is over, but it means we have to get back to the real work: making sure that no matter what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, that you can have a great life here in Dayton,” she said.
City Manager Shelley Dickstein spoke on how much this event cost the city, saying, “In preparation for this event, we estimate that we have spent roughly 250 thousand dollars on personnel costs and almost 400 thousand on contract and materials.”
Montgomery County also spent roughly $50,000.
A more exact number is expected to be released by the city within the next week.
“Some may be critical of this investment. Unfortunately, in today’s world, where individuals are free to open carry unlimited numbers of guns, and where we have seen vehicles driven into crowds of peaceful protesters, we feel this investment was necessary,” she adds.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl says that it was difficult for officers to predict exactly how many people would attend Saturday’s rally due to so much talk on social media and the number of other events happening around the city.
He also gave initial estimates on how many people attended each major event:
- Courthouse Square: 500-600 people
- RiverScape: 30 people
- McIntosh Park: 200 people
- Oak and Ivy Park: 30 people
“There were no arrests, there was no use of force by police, there were no injuries to anyone in attendance, there were no citations issued. Generally speaking, from a public safety perspective, it was very uneventful despite the amount of resources deployed,” he said.
Anyone with questions about how day-to-day city operations will be impacted by these events throughout the weekend can check the city’s special web page here.