Autumn Tolbert wrote Saturday about the contrasts between George Floyd/Black Lives Matter demonstrations the previous week in Fayetteville and Bentonville. Fayetteville was peaceful and police took a knee with demonstrators; the Benton County riot squad gassed demonstrators on the Bentonville square. They also were hit by rubber bullets and “beanbag” projectiles.
Bentonville got a do-over Monday night and all went well.
KFSM reported at length and noted that Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson kneeled with the demonstrators. Organizers had worked in advance to cooperate with the police.
No good deed goes unpunished. KNWA reported that there were critics (a similar message emerged in Little Rock, too, as organizers worked with police to prevent further gassing as demonstrations continued for nine days.)
Emily Barber attended part of the rally and said she left because it felt like “copaganda”, a term being used on social media to describe messaging officers approve. She said it appeared that speakers were too willing to adhere to law enforcement’s wishes.
“I was seeing people from the very start of the night using the term ‘copaganda’ and saying that it seemed like the message had been taken over by the message the police wanted to present,” Barber said.