KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There was a heavy police presence at Washington Square Park near downtown Kansas City, Mo., as militia group, AntiFa and religious groups protested Saturday morning.
Fox 4’s Kera Mashek was at the protest and noticed several of the AntiFa members armed with weapons. She also said the religious groups, which included people from various faiths, spent time praying, singing and offering peace.
“We were doing it because it’s just time for the faith community to step up,” Senior Pastor Zion Grove Baptist Church Michael Brooks told Fox 4.
Kansas City police chief Rick Smith posted a blog on Friday that said police were aware of the rally and prepared for it.
“It is slated to involve numerous groups and hundreds of people from across the political and ideological spectrum,” Chief Smith said. “We also are prepared that some of those people will have differing viewpoints and may not get along. Our only duty will be to ensure that everyone is safe as they exercise their constitutional right to free speech.”
Chief Smith said police would be there as a neutral party.
“We will remain as uninvolved as possible. But we will have the resources ready should more involvement be needed to maintain safety,” Chief Smith said.
Police prepared for the rally by reaching out to the organizers of the groups. Chief Smith said this is standard procedure for all protests in the city.
“We appreciate the thousands of people who have come out to make their voice heard on a number of issues in a peaceful manner,” Chief Smith said about KC’s history of peaceful protests.
Law enforcement shut down Grand Boulevard from Pershing to 25th Street to ensure that protesters in Washington Square Park were safe Saturday morning.
Chief Smith said officers assigned to the protest were on special assignment and were not pulled from other patrol areas.
Click here to read Chief Smith’s full blog.