Andrew Dys

Extra law enforcement added for Sunday’s York Black Lives Matter march

YORK Police in York have added extra officers and security measures for Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protest march, to ensure the safety of the protesters, the police and spectators.

York Police Department Chief Department Chief Andy Robinson said Friday that the department has security measures in place, saying “safety for all is our primary concern.” Specifics of the extra security measures were not detailed.

York County Sheriff’s Office agents, along with state agents, will be on hand Sunday to augment the York Police Department, Mayor Eddie Lee said.

“The safety of all who will participate, the officers, and those in attendance is our top priority,” Lee said.

The demonstration, called a Black Lives Matter Stop the Violence march to raise awareness of the concerns blacks have for equal treatment after police shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, North Charleston and other places, while also focusing on violence problems in York, starts at 7:30 pm Sunday. Yet the march - York County’s first organized Black Lives Matter movement event - comes just nine days after five officers were killed and several other officers and protesters wounded at a Dallas march by an assassin who targeted police - specifically white officers.

That shooting spree is a concern of all involved, and organizers of the York march have been meeting with police for days to coordinate a safe and peaceful event Sunday in York.

York, a city officials say has grown to about 9,000 people, is York County’s seat of government. Almost 40 percent of York’s population is black. York County’s population is more than a quarter million, with US Census figures showing about 20 percent of the population - around 50,0000 - as black.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris confirmed that deputies will be working along with York officers, in an attempt to make the event as safe as possible.

Two of the march organizers said Friday - before meeting again with York officers about the march - that the goal is to bring awareness to problems with violence in York, including an unsolved shooting of a 17-year-old mother and other gun crimes. In social media postings aimed at recruiting people to the march, organizers have stated that Sunday is a “unity march” for people of all races, and will focus on not just injustices experienced by blacks in police shootings in other places, but the local problems of killings and crime.

The police department “applauds their efforts make York a better place to live,” Robinson said, noting that police reached out to help with planning several days ago.

“We offered our assistance of anything they might need to make the event happen and go well,” Robinson said. “If we can do anything to stop or reduce the violence, the police department is all for it.”

The march is set to start at Jefferson field at the corner of Pinckney Street and Spruce Streets south of downtown York. The route heads north on Pinckney Street to Congress Street, then north on Congress ending in the area of the downtown near the intersection of Congress and Liberty streets.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald