Rockford, Illinois News

‘Back the Blue’ supporter arrested after clash with protesters

ROCKFORD — A man involved in the melee after the “Back the  Blue” rally downtown last weekend was arrested Monday.

Steven M. Edenburn, 33, of Belvidere, is charged with robbery and aggravated battery in a public place.

Authorities say those charges stem from an incident that happened Saturday morning, Aug. 1, in the parking lot of the Winnebago County Justice Center.

“Multiple people who attended the ‘Back the Blue’ event were still on the property as well as dozens of individuals protesting the event,” Katie Zimmerman, media spokesperson for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, said in a release. “As Winnebago County deputies were taking an individual into to custody, they were surrounded by a crowd of people, and several fights broke out.”

Several witnesses recorded video of the events. One video shows Edenburn chasing a protester who removed a ‘Back the Blue’ yard sign while a second clip shows him in the middle of the choas, attempting to grab a flag from another female. The video continues, showing a man who fits Edenburn’s description from the the first video punch the woman in the back of the head, sending her to the pavement.

Edenburn posted a video about the events on his Facebook page, explaining how he grabbed the flag from the protester. The video, and his Facebook page, have since been taken down.

Edenburn was arrested Wednesday afternoon. He was released after posting a $1,000 bond.

Zimmerman said at least two deputies received minor injuries. A video shows a protester being assisted at the scene after being hit in the face with pepper spray.

Footage also shows officers struggling with a photographer, who was later thrown to the ground. He was not injured but his camera lens was reportedly damaged.

Saturday’s clash came less than 24 hours after police broke up a protest outside City Market and arrested 11 demonstrators on charges ranging from resisting arrest to aggravated battery of a police officer. Six protesters were arrested Saturday.

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