Federal officials are trying to help the public stay safe ahead of the Honorable Sacred Knights’ rally planned for downtown Dayton.
The U.S. Department of Justice hosted an event marshal training session Wednesday for community members who might choose to demonstrate against the KKK-affiliated group.
Despite recommendations from city officials to avoid the area the day of the rally, some groups may still counter-protest near Courthouse Square.
2 NEWS was not allowed inside the training session, but city officials said it’s another way to try to help keep the area safe.
“I think people have to step up for things like this,” said Ann Snyder, a teacher and Dayton native who attended the class.
Snyder said she wants to do her part on Saturday by helping keep demonstrations peaceful.
“I am concerned about safety,” she said. “I’m concerned that people’s emotions will get carried away.”
City and federal officials are trying to prevent that from happening. According to the Dayton Human Relations Council, more than 30 people registered for Wednesday night’s event marshal training session.
“We have faith-based leaders, community activists, people just generally interested in keeping the public safe,” said Jared Grandy, community police relations coordinator for the Dayton Human Relations Council.
The training teaches members of the public how to look out for one another and de-escalate confrontations, Grandy said.
“Law enforcement can’t do it all,” he said. “And law enforcement should be working in conjunction with [the] community in events like this.”
Some people planning to counter-protest told 2 NEWS they’re being proactive to help keep demonstrators safe.
“We are encouraging people to come with the right temperament, to come with the right spirit,” said Yolanda Simpson of Black Lives Matter Miami Valley. “We are a spirit of non-violence. We are a spirit of joy and tolerance.”
The Dayton Human Relations Council, other local officials and groups like the NAACP are continuing to encourage people not to come downtown the day of the rally.
For a list of alternative events planned for Saturday, click here.