My Hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana

George Floyd Protests

Some recent local insanity. I caught these shots with my Nikon D7200.

Angry Americans exercising their constitutional rights.

I think our Fort Wayne, Indiana police department jumped the gun a bit here. When the protestors were marching into the streets instead of keeping to the grass and sidewalks, the police ordered them to cease blocking traffic, or be labeled an unlawful gathering and be dispersed. I think to keep from escalating the situation the police could have chosen to block the traffic a few blocks North of this intersection instead. That is what they did on later days at subsequent protests. Most of those days were much less…exciting.

In the police departments defense, there were also a few agitators in the crowd. Some of them I am pretty sure were non-local, perhaps even “professional” agitators, paid or otherwise. I saw some throwing water bottles and similar items into the police formations, which is just plain stupid, unless violence IS your goal. There were calls from within the crowd for people to ‘stop throwing things at the cops’, etc.

As usual things are rarely only one sided and both sides made bad choices here, with fairly predictable results.

Dispersing the protestors. They blocked traffic and wouldn’t stop. Items were thrown into the police formations. Over-reaction? Maybe. Maybe not too. The police weren’t the only ones in some version of “riot gear”.
That ain’t Covid-19 protection. This is well before the tear gas deployment. Hours earlier. Antifa? Maybe. There were more, some with black helmets equipped with face shields like motocross racers sometimes wear, They aren’t pictured here, I couldn’t get good shots of them.
This kind of gear for non-violent protestors? This wont de-escalate anything, guys. Remember the mission. To protect and to serve. You are part of our community. Lets all remember that.

And finally this. I spent the day at the protests back on May 29th or 30th. I got gassed several times, even though I was only taking pictures. I watched a Fox News cameraman get very deliberately (IMHO) gassed by a direct shot at his feet, fired from about 15 yards away. Annoying but also not too bad. I played with CS gas (tear gas) when I was in the military (about a million years ago). So it wasn’t too bad for me. Not fun, but if you have tasted/felt it before, you know you’ll probably live through it and the fear is absent. It isn’t that bad.

However, after the first gassing, I had re-positioned myself to get more pictures, and as I was photographing, I had this encounter with one of our more judgement impaired local police officers. This is a scary example of poor judgment. This officer stared at me down the barrel of his rifle, finger on the trigger, for taking pictures of him. I have no idea whether he was loaded with lethal munitions or rubber bullets. I have only the one picture because I wasn’t about to give him an excuse to fire on me. I raised my hands to shoulder height, outstretched, showing clearly that I was holding only a camera. He never wavered in his aim, nor did he remove his finger from inside the trigger housing. This is the kind of officer that likely needs serious re-training, perhaps outright dismissal. His fellow officers would know better than I would, but I don’t like that they (those in the picture) didn’t feel any need to interfere at the time. I generally respect cops, EMTs, Firemen, Soldiers etc. To quote a favorite author of mine, those who run toward the screams. This kind of behavior does NOT build trust though.

At the left of the alley mouth, he’s holding a gas grenade launcher, more or less aimed at the ground between us, ready but not directly threatening. On the right though. That sh*tbird has a bead on my face, and that is a rifle. He kept his aim even after I clearly showed him I was carrying only a camera, and I was making NO threatening moves.