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About 90 people from Salem and surrounding areas gathered at the Washington County Fairgrounds Wednesday afternoon at 5:30p for about an hour to sing, pray, read poetry and express their feelings in the wake of recent police violence and the rioting that has threatened businesses and safety around the country.

Shaun Atkinson of Salem spoke to the group about his feelings about recent events.

Mandi Jay, Brandon Catalanotto, and Kaylee Morris decided they needed to do something to remember and honor the lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were killed by police. Ahmaud Arbery was a black man jogging in Georgia recently and was killed by two white men. 

They wanted to host a memorial service to allow people in Salem to express themselves after these deaths. 

“We were going to have an event downtown but then people said they were afraid of a riot or damage to buildings,” said Jay. “So we moved it to the fairgrounds.”

Morris appeared on the WSLM morning show, “Coffee Club” earlier in the day. 

 

Police were on hand to make sure the gathering did not turn violent.
 
Washington County Sheriff Brent Miller said there were several different departments on hand and “many more that you can’t even tell that are here.” 
 
WSLM could spot Salem City Police as well as the Indiana State Police. 
 

 

Miller said there were two groups on hand – militia and a 2nd Amendment group that had wanted to come and support the police in keeping the peace during the event.
 
Police and others gathered to support the event.
 
David Norton, a local Libertarian, spoke to the group today.

Below is the LIVE video of the event.