THPD Chief: ‘We had to step in. We have to do our job’ during protests

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Eight people were arrested Monday night following a third day of protests.

The protests began around 5 p.m. Monday and lasted through the early morning Tuesday. Terre Haute Police, Vigo County deputies and Indiana State troopers were called to the area due to interactions between drivers and protesters.

Terre Haute Police Chief Shawn Keen said law enforcement arrived at the scene after receiving numerous complaints.

“We started receiving calls from different motorists who indicated that (protesters) were jumping out in front of cars, throwing bottles at different vehicles,” he said. “Based on that increased threat, we saw we had a danger to both the motorists and the pedestrians that were jumping in front of the cars.”

The incidents resulted in eight arrests, seven for obstruction of traffic and one for battery.

“I hoped that we would get through this without having to arrest anyone,” Keen said. “But like I said before, our threshold is when it starts to become a danger, where people could be hurt. We’re going to have to act. Unfortunately, we had to do that here tonight.”

Keen noted that the police department respects everyone’s right to protest; however, he said safety is their top priority. ​

“We had to step in. We have to do our job,” he said. “We have to protect them as well as the rest of the public.” ​

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