Black Lives Matter demonstrators march peacefully in the Village of Waterford June 20 to raise awareness of racial inequities. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Counter-protesters disrupt speeches, but violence is avoided

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Organizers of Waterford’s Black Lives Matter protest acknowledged there would be opposition to their root cause of shedding light on systemic racism in society.

However, with anticipated counter-protesters at Ten Club Park June 20, organizers asked fellow Black Lives Matter demonstrators to avoid confrontation, show solidarity and march in silence.

And Black Lives Matter demonstrators delivered on that directive even as counter-protesters disrupted speeches delivered by organizer Casey Fredrick and Racine County Register of Deeds Connie Cobb Madsen.

Officials from the Town of Waterford Police Department and Racine County Sheriff’s Office encourage a counter-protester to back off during a June 20 Black Lives Matter protest in Waterford. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Fredrick, a college student who attends the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, decided to organize the Black Lives Matter rally in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

Frederick, who previously said the march would be peaceful, told the crowd of supporters she wanted to raise awareness of racial injustice in a predominantly white community such as Waterford.

The Village of Waterford, according to census figures, has a population composed of 95% white and just 0.3% black people.

Topics covered during the event included police brutality, police killing black people, racial profiling, and what many consider an unfair criminal justice system.

Fredrick and other speakers, however, were met with resistance as counter-protesters shouted “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter,” among other phrases.

Officers with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office and Town of Waterford Police Department whisked them away onto the sidewalk.

Lt. James Evans, of the Sheriff’s Office, said aside from dissenting opinions, the June 20 protest was relatively peaceful and did not incite violence.

He estimates nearly 100 people showed up in support of Black Lives Matter while 40 to 50 counter-protesters lined the sidewalk near Ten Club Park.

      To read the full story, including content from the speeches, see the June 26 edition of the Waterford Post, which will be available at local retail outlets Friday.