GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Five people were arrested Sunday evening after a ‘pop-up event’ in downtown Grand Rapids, police say.
The demonstration began at 6 p.m. and was connected to an event held earlier in the day to honor Breonna Taylor, a Grand Rapids native who was shot and killed by police in Louisville.
Grand Rapids police say about 100 people gathered for an “unpermitted event” near Fulton Street and Division Avenue. Police say demonstrators parked cars and tried blocking traffic on Fulton Street from Division Avenue to La Grave Avenue.
GRPD says they worked with demonstrators for about 20 minutes and encouraged them to move out of the street.
Police say five people were arrested and are facing resisting and obstructing charges. One car was towed for blocking traffic.
News 8 learned some of those arrested participated in a parade event honoring Taylor at Mackay-Jaycees Park just prior.
“I, along with the community, continue to be saddened by the death of Breonna Taylor and understand the concerns about how her life was lost,” Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne said. “That is why I am actively working to improve community safety in Grand Rapids. I want this to be a city where all people feel safe and are safe at all times throughout our community.
“Public safety is our top priority,” Payne continued. “Blocking traffic at major intersections is not safe for participants or motorists. The last thing we want is for someone to get hurt or to arrest anyone for trying to exercise their right to free speech. Such gatherings should be coordinated with our special events office. A special event permit can help avoid confusion and protect the public’s safety.”
GRPD encourages free speech event organizers to contact the city’s Office of Special Events by calling 616.456.3378 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.