Two women join a group of people protesting racial inequality and police brutality in Burlington earlier this month. A similar event is planned for Waterford on Saturday.

Organizer expects event to be peaceful

By Chris Bennett

Correspondent

A peaceful, civil protest against the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police is scheduled to take place Saturday in Waterford.

The organizer said she hopes, and expects, that the protest will remain peaceful.

Casey Fredrick, a college student who attends the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and works at the Waterford Public Library, is the primary organizer of the rally. Fredrick said her neighbor, Noah Wishau, is also helping organize, along with a few others.

Fredrick’s motives for the protest are simple.

“Being such a small town, it’s just starting a conversation,” Fredrick said. “We want to let people know this is an issue in Waterford. You don’t need to feel alone or scared, or that if you say something, people won’t back you up.”

The protest is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. at 10 Club Park, which is located along the Fox River on First Street.

According to a flier posted to Facebook a march will go on the sidewalk from Main Street to Milwaukee Street, to Division Street, down Second Street and back to 10 Club Park.

At that point, Fredrick said, there will be speakers discussing topics pertaining to racial equality. Fredrick did not elaborate on who will speak, but said she will be one of the speakers.

The flier states that some of the topics covered will include police brutality and police killing black people, racial profiling, an unjust criminal justice system, dismantling racism in career fields and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’ve always been aware of Black Lives Matter and racism and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) issues,” Fredrick said. “I wanted to do something in our small town because those issues exist here.”

Fredrick said she is aware counter protesters might attend, but insisted she wants the protest to remain peaceful.

Officials are aware

Waterford Village Administrator Zeke Jackson said police will be present, but would not elaborate on the presence out of tactical security concerns.

The village contracts with the Town of Waterford for police protection. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department also holds jurisdiction in Waterford.

“We are not going to disclose any matter related to police presence, in order to preserve public safety,” Jackson said. “It is atypical for police departments to discuss strategy, tactics, tools or equipment prior to events.”

Jackson said the village will do its part to ensure the Constitutional rights of all who attend will be protected in a safe manner.

“We’re certainly monitoring the situation and collaborating with the police department and law enforcement to make sure life and property are safe,” Jackson said. “We’re not immune to things on the national level.”

Burlington, Twin Lakes, Elkhorn and other local communities turned into sites for protest in the wake of Floyd’s death.

Floyd died May 25 after being subdued by police from the Minneapolis Police Department for, allegedly, trying to pay for cigarettes with counterfeit money. An officer from the Minneapolis Police Department knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, which led to his death.