EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated:
Miami Township, Ohio – The press release sent out by Lisa Kerwin, a Pastor at Epiphany United Methodist Church says, “On Friday, June 19, Epiphany and other SW Ohio UMC congregations will stop traffic by kneeling in silent prayer, offering peaceful protest and witness for 8:46 minutes to respectfully mark the tragic death of George Floyd and the many victims before him who have lost their lives to injustice.” The plan is to shut down roads at 6 PM this Friday afternoon.
The events are apparently planned around the region, however, the location for the civil disobedience in the Loveland area is the corner of Branch Hill-Guinea Pike and Loveland-Miamiville Roads. This is the Kroger and Walgreen intersection.
The press release calls it a “Peaceful Witness” event and further says, “The Miami Township Police Department and surrounding businesses are invited to attend and/or participate as a show of support.”
Loveland Magazine asked Kerwin, “Have you been given permission by Miami Township Police to shut down the road? Are people prepared to be given citations or go to jail?”
Kerwin responded Friday via email by saying, “We are not going to be arrested. We have police support. They will be there!!”
Loveland Magazine reached out to Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills, and asked him if the organizers had been given permission to shut down this intersection. He responded this morning saying, “We, the police, cannot give permission to shut down the intersection. There is a process through the Township Government to apply for permits, but it is not a quick process.” Mills said that Kerwin had met with him and that they are reconvening this week to discuss logistics and a plan for a peaceful protest.
Mills added, “We are working with them to keep everyone safe and encouraging a peaceful protest in the right-of-way and the not the roadway.”
Loveland Magazine also asked the Chief, “According to the release, your department has been invited to ‘participate’. Will you or any of your officers join? Will you allow your officers to participate?”
Mills responded this morning by saying, “We will be there to make sure everyone is safe. Sometimes bad actors show up in support of one side or the other and distracts from the cause.”
When asked for his reaction to a plan to shut down the roads, Mills said, “We will support their 1st Amendment Right.”