Social media rumors prompt organizers to cancel Saturday’s Bristol protest


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Protecting people’s right to protest is crucial.

“Gotta protect that right for any citizen that wants to do it,” Bristol, Va. police Sgt. Steve Crawford said.

Rumors started spreading on social media this week of white supremacists coming to Bristol and causing disruption to peaceful protests.

ALSO READ: Bristol, Va. Police ‘flooded with calls’ about social media rumors

“We’re gonna treat it like something is gonna happen we’ve got extra officers we’re gonna be available all through the weekend if needed and that goes for the entire city,” Sgt. Crawford said.

Other rumors noted Bristol’s busy shopping area at Exit 7 could also see rioting from these white supremacists.

“For the Exit 7, we just don’t have enough information we don’t know where this originated from but trust me we’ve worked to try and find out,” Sgt. Crawford said.

The Bristol, Va. police department and city have both investigated these rumors and received guidance from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

“We both believe that is no credible evidence that there will be any riots or any sort of violence in the city of Bristol this weekend but we are prepared for that in case it does happen,” Bristol, Va. city manager Randy Eads said.

Although these are just rumors, the community is well aware. The Walmart in Bristol, Tenn. actually boarded up its windows.

“If people do show up whether they’re protesting peacefully or choose to take another route then we’re able to handle those situations,” Eads said.

Both Bristol police departments said on Facebook that they were made aware the protests are now canceled.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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