Police: No excessive force during May 30 protest
ROCKFORD – Officers with the Rockford Police Department did no use excessive force when they responded to violence and arrested several people Saturday, May 30, during protest outside Police District 1 headquarters on the city’s west side.
That is the conclusion was announced at a press conference Wednesday by authorities who reviewed 90 complaints and more than 120 hours of video footage.
The violence outside the precinct occurred about 45 minutes after several hundred people protesting the death of George Floyd marched from Haskell Park to the west-side police station. Signs were damaged while demonstrators chucked rocks, wood and water bottles, breaking three large windows. A squad car window was also smashed.
Several videos of the events have circulated on social media. Some show police in riot gear pulling people out of a parked car and using batons during scuffles with protesters.
“I respect the rights of individuals to protest,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “I’m proud that citizens are raising their voices to bring awareness to issues they are concerned about. These issues should concern our entire community. We are listening. We are evaluating our practices. We can do better, and we are making improvements.”
McNamara continued, saying the Rockford Police Department had a duty to respond when the events on May 30 escalated from a peaceful demonstration.
“I want to thank the peaceful protesters, especially those who stepped up and put themselves in harm’s way between the small group of violent protesters throwing rocks and the D-1 building,” he said.
Police Chief Dan O’Shea, Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd and Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana were also at Wednesday’s press conference.
This story will be updated.