HERMITAGE — A peaceful protest over the weekend spawned a second brief demonstration, which also went off without incident, Monday afternoon at the Hermitage Municipal Building.
Protesters marched Sunday through Sharon, Farrell and Hermitage largely without incident.
During the event, a police officer confiscated a weapon from one of the marchers. Protest participant Prince-Isra’el Isra’el of Sharon said police told the marcher, who was not identified, that he could pick up his weapon Monday, but was unable to do so, which led to Monday’s gathering.
“That’s why we’re here today, to support him,” Isra’el said of the person.
Fellow protestor Marquis Lampkins, of Sharon, said the protests Sunday were otherwise peaceful, aside from the single incident.
“Now we’re up here fighting for the fact that they told this man to come up and get his weapons at 3 o’clock Monday and he’s now being charged,” Lampkins said. “All we want is to be treated fairly. We deserve that.”
The gathering at the Hermitage municipal building began at about 3 p.m., Hermitage police Chief Eric Jewell said, and the participants began leaving around 4.
As of Monday afternoon, Jewell confirmed that police confiscated the man’s weapons but did not identify the person involved because police had not filed charges. Jewell said the man would likely be charged with misdemeanor or summary offenses.
In an effort to calm the situation, clergy members from the area also took part in the gathering Monday.
The clergy members held a group prayer Monday as the gathering started to break up, Jewell said.
“They were literally a godsend,” he said.
Hermitage Police Department posted a message Monday on its official Facebook page indicating that the department was aware of rumors on social media of a violent protest that was coming to the city.
Despite rumors of protesters from Pittsburgh coming to Mercer County, Isra’el said all of the participants at Monday’s gathering were local as far as he knew.
Even though he described the the outcome of Monday’s demonstration as “neutral” since police still possess the marcher’s weapons, Isra’el said he appreciated that Hermitage police officers were willing to speak with people, and also credited the various police departments who watched the protest on Sunday, including police who walked with the protesters.
“Those officers were awesome,” Isra’el said.
Herald photographer Tanner Mondok contributed to this story.
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