Presence of Armed Protestors Causes Conflict

This summer has seen demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality across the state of Arkansas, including demonstrations at the state capital here in Little Rock. Many of these demonstrations have included armed individuals. Is this part of our new normal? 


During the George Floyd protests at the Little Rock City Hall, a protester brandished his gun. It is unclear if he was counter-protesting or if he was supporting the protestors.


As more younger people start to advocate for justice for victims of police brutality, some are trapped in deciding whether guns should be allowed or not.


“I think it can be a way to make the people at the protest feel safe, but can also make them feel like they are in danger”, senior Milo Thompson said.


 Multiple shots were fired during the Kenosha protests, making it confusing for police to actually confirm if there was someone in danger, where it was located, and who was responsible for the gunfire.


Carrying a gun to a protest might cause police to attack.


“I don’t think protestors being armed will do anything but make police more eager to attack. Usually the police attack with provocation, but analogizing them still isn’t a good idea unless everyone at the protest is 100% prepared to defend themselves,” said Thompson.


Dijon Kizze, the subject of many protests, was riding his bike when he was stopped for a code violation. He proceeded to run away, and the deputies chased after him until they made contact with him again. Lt. Brandon Dean claimed that Kizzee “punched one of the deputies in the face.” According to Dean, Kizzee then dropped his jacket, which contained a semi automatic handgun, causing the police to fire the shots that led to his death. Protesters took to the streets for this unjust killing. At 8 p.m. on Sep 1, many people, including Kizzee’s family members, protested in the Westmont neighborhood to demand justice for Dijon Kizzee and acknowledgement for Black Lives Matter. 


Rallies thrown in his honor turned violent as many people came to the South Los Angeles Sheriff department, growing tired, but maintaining  perseverance.


Protests have occurred for many days, and people are still not giving up. People held up signs reading “Justice for Dijon Kizzee” and “Jail killer cops” as they stood outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff department asking for the names of the police who killed Kizzee. During the protests, things got out of hand. Protesters started throwing bottles at the sheriffs, and the sheriffs shot the protesters with sting balls and pepper balls. 


Police are available to keep protests peaceful and protestors safe from conflict. 


“Caution and judgement should be used, and I don’t think a show of force will be useful against the police, not when they are there in force,” said Thompson.