Protesters met with armed onlookers following demonstration in Crown Point

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CROWN POINT, Ind. – Following a peaceful protest in Crown Point, the protesters were met twice by armed bystanders.

On Monday, a group of around 40 protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement held a demonstration in the city’s square, a popular area of Crown Point.

Cedric Caschetta, 20, felt compelled to attend after growing up as one of the only African Americans in Lowell, a town about nine miles south of Crown Point.

Caschetta told WGN the demonstration was peaceful and he was able to pray with the mayor and police chief in wake of the death of George Floyd. He said around 100 people stood on the other side on the street and watched the demonstration take place.

After the demonstration in the square, protesters continued to march north on Main Street.

While on the march, the protesters were met with men armed with rifles and one bat as they kept moving north.

Caschetta brought a sign that said “my life matters” and said the some of the onlookers yelled “my life matters too.”

Picture of onlookers armed on Main Street in Crown Point

After going north on Main Street for a few blocks, the protesters wanted to head back to the square where they met.

Crown Point police escorted the group back south on a bike trail right off Main Street. While on the walk back to the square, a group of bystanders, including eight men holding rifles, were outside of a subdivision.

Caschetta met them with a smile as he held his sign down the line. He said none of the men looked at him.

“I wasn’t scared whatsoever,” Caschetta said. “My sisters lived in fear for this their entire lives. This was my moment to show if something were to happen, to stand my ground.”

At the end of the video, the group is shown thanking Crown Point police for being there.

“My entire neighborhood is white. My girlfriend is white,” Caschetta said. “People need to understand that not every black person is bad, not every cop is bad.”

On Tuesday, the Northwest Indiana Times reported that Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land discussed the video in a forum.

“There were individuals — not related to a police department, just private citizens — that had their personally owned rifles displayed,” Land said. “In Indiana, that’s legal. You don’t need a permit. You can do a rifle or shotgun. You need a permit if you have a sidearm and you’re going to carry it outside of your house or business, then you need a permit.”

The Northwest Indiana Times pointed out that Indiana Code 35-47-2 has specific language for handguns, but there is not language for carrying rifles and shotguns without a permit.

Crown Point police said they checked with the bystanders on their intentions.

“They have a right to do that,” Land said. “We were definitely on top of that. As soon as that became visible, we had officers up there and checked on them.”

Caschetta praised Crown Point police for their role in the protest.

“The cops were very supportive of us. They understood our case clearly. The cops understood that were were not trouble,” Caschetta said. “We all prayed together.”

Monday’s video has been seen over 300,000 times on Twitter.

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