After speaking with organizers with the Chosen Brothers MC, they have stated that at no time were they involved in either protest. They stated that was a separate group that was in attendance to protest All Live Matter. Organizers with Chosen Brothers stated that they were at the Beach, which they frequent along with other downtown businesses, to make sure all the businesses and people stayed safe after rumors circulated that non-local protesters would be on-site to cause havoc on the downtown businesses.
Saturday evening in Greensburg was not like any other small-town Indiana night. It was described by one business owner as “the vibe in the area was tense”.
Protestors for those for and against Black Lives Matter gathered downtown Greensburg on the Square. The group protesting for BLM gathered on the Courthouse lawn, while those against gathered at The Beach Tiki Bar and Grill.
The local BLM group started on social media under a group called Voices of the Unheard Against Systematic Racism planned the peaceful event over the last few weeks. Encouraged by other successfully peaceful events that occurred in Southeastern Indiana and nationwide, the group sought permission and advice from the Greensburg Police Chief and City Mayor, Josh Marsh for Saturday’s event. Organizers with the event stated that this was meant to be a peaceful protest and anything else would not be tolerated. The protest featured prayers, a speech from District 6 candidate for Congress, Jeanine Lee Lake, and knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd. Lake spoke to the crowd about Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store by whistling. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. Lake continued about the need for equality and justice everywhere.
Tension increased while the minutes passed as the group protesting at the Beach decided to continue on the Courthouse lawn.
The second group, stationed at The Beach, was mostly gentlemen, several of whom wore apparel that said “Chosen Brothers MC”. Both groups shouted back in forth in solidarity of their chosen beliefs. Both groups paraded the downtown area with their signs and chants before separating ways.
The only group not present were law enforcement, with the exception of the Chief and Mayor, who were seen several times driving around the vicinity. Several Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies were congregated at the old Decatur County Jail, but it is unknown if it was related to the protests.
Speaking with several bystanders around the square, it was evident that most were unaware of the planned protest and felt uncomfortable visiting the businesses as they came to downtown Greensburg to do. Some were gathered around the monument “to protect it”. Several rumors from bystanders accusing both sides of the protest of being “paid” and “not from around here” were made when asked their thoughts. One downtown business person stated that business was down for the day, even post COVID-19. They stated they could tell customers that did enter seemed to be distracted by the intensity outside.