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Riots not a concern here
Ferguson, Mo., has had its fair share of the news the last few weeks with the officer-involved shooting of an unarmed black man earlier this month.
Since the shooting, riots have broken out, protests have arisen and police officers have been physically attacked because of the controversial shooting.While La Grande may never see the racially charged incident like the one in Ferguson, the potential risk of a hostile situation is unnerving.Police Chief Brian Harvey said he’s not worried about that happening here because he has faith in the group of citizens he’s come to know.
“People are attacking (the police),” Harvey said of Ferguson. “They’re trying to harm them. If we’re not the source of why people are upset, then there’s a little bit less of a level of dangerousness since we’re not the target.”
Harvey said a protest is a civil thing. And a peaceful protest is not something the department would worry about.
“We’ll support them 100 percent,” he said. “They’re exercising their First Amendment right, that’s great. If they’re committing a crime while they’re protesting, then that’s a different story. How significant is the crime they’re committing? We’ll speak to the ringleaders and get people to cooperate. If they’re arsoning a building, or have the possibility of killing people, then we’ll be far more assertive.”
For the complete story, see Friday's edition of The Observer.