(La Porte, IN) - Dueling protests in downtown La Porte Saturday went peacefully, but not exactly as planned. Back the Blue pro-police demonstrators gathered on multiple street corners near the courthouse Saturday morning, waving American flags and Trump banners.
Organizer Spencer England said they were forced to the other side of the street by counter-protestors who showed up early. "We did have the BLM guys show up two or three hours early, coming up and jamming music in your face," England said. "It seems like they were really trying to push the issue. They have the right to be here, but it just shows disrespect. And a lot of people don't respect their movement because they're disrespectful to other people. We scheduled our time around theirs so as not to overlap each other."
Taylor Patz, who led the group speaking out against racism, said they arrived earlier than planned because of the possibility of bad weather. Their message, that racism is very real even in a small town like La Porte, he said needs to be heard loud and clear. "A lot of people said there's no police brutality here in La Porte, there's no racism here in La Porte. As the guy was saying that to me," Patz claimed, "someone drove by with their middle finger up and called me, a Caucasian, the N-word. So that kind of proves the point that racism is still in cities like La Porte."
Patz, who grew up in Michigan City, but just moved to La Porte last year, said he and his fellow protestors are just concerned citizens and not affiliated with any organization. The anti-racism group was notably smaller, numbering about ten, but loud nonetheless. The pro-police crowd disbanded at noon, as originally planned.