Arrests were made and citations were written Thursday as protesters against police violence and racism clashed with Laramie law enforcement.

Seven arrests were made and five citations written Thursday, Laramie Police Department Lt. Gwen Smith wrote in an email. The majority of arrests and citations were for disorderly conduct. One charge was for amplified noise.

It was the largest police presence at a protest since the nearly daily demonstrations began June 2 in Laramie. While the protests were initially confined to sidewalks, protesters starting on June 7 spilled into the street blocking busy roadways as they peacefully demonstrated.

The Laramie Police Department on Thursday afternoon released a statement notifying protesters that for the first time, they planned to write citations for anyone obstructing a roadway, indicating a warning would be given first.

“Beginning today, demonstrators are placed on notice that if they enter the roadway illegally, either to walk or to sit, they will be subject to citations for violation of Laramie Municipal Code,” the statement reads. “Warnings will initially be provided if people illegally enter the roadway and if they do not comply with that legal direction, they will be issued citations. If they fail to provide police with their names, they may face additional charges.”

Protesters gathered around 5 p.m. at First Street Plaza. When the march began about 15 minutes later, most occupied the Grand Avenue roadway walking east. Police began gathering around the Albany County Courthouse as protesters advanced and eventually blocked the roadway with LPD officers between Sixth and Seventh streets, forcing protesters onto the south sidewalk.

The LPD was assisted by the Wyoming Highway Patrol throughout Thursday’s march.

Tensions rose as police began taking protesters to the south sidewalk, one was carried by police, in front of the courthouse where at least one was cuffed and led away. Several others were written citations.

One protester who was cited, Victoria Kent, said a group of police officers told multiple protesters at once to return to the sidewalk and began herding them in that direction when she was grabbed and pulled to the sidewalk in front of the Albany County Courthouse. 

"I was not aware that we would be physically confronted and dragged to the side for a citation," Kent said. 

Kent, who has a joint disorder, said police dislocated her right shoulder when taking her to the sidewalk. She said she put her arm back in its socket while police asked if she needed medical attention. Kent said she "absolutely" felt unsafe during the confrontation. 

After stopping for a few minutes to confront police writing citations, protesters continued marching east until police cuffed and detained another protester near Ninth Street and Grand, drawing more anger from demonstrators. The march continued to 15th Street, then turned around back west toward First Street Plaza again. At least one more protester was detained in the westward route near 11th Street.

When regrouped at the plaza, organizers indicated hat they planned to march again on Friday.

Thursday’s demonstrations followed Tuesday night’s Laramie City Council work session, where more than a dozen spoke during public comment in frustration with the council and the city’s police. Protester organizers on Wednesday indicated during a march that they were not happy with the work session and planned to continue fighting for their policy goals.

The LPD’s Thursday statement mentioned the protesters on Wednesday blocking the Third Street and Grand Avenue intersection, saying the department received multiple complaints about the obstructed roadway.

(2) comments

WYO1

Well....sorry. Your rights end where mine begin. Please don't play in the street!

zcook42

Sure. And selective enforcement of city ordinances against protesters that the police don't like is a real boon to our community, and such a positive step toward rebuilding the credibility of police departments that our citizens are rightfully questioning and criticizing.

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