DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Emily Mendenhall, one of the owner’s of Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon District, spent Saturday at her business while manning a water station she put out for protesters.
She stepped away for a moment – long enough for someone to throw a brick through the front window of her business. The damage was part of the unreset that marked the protests held on Saturday in Dayton following the death of George Floyd, a man who died while being arrested by Minneapolis police on Monday. Floyd’s death has sparked protests and riots across the country.
“All day long, we watched peaceful protests,” Mendenhall told 2 NEWS. “We had water stations over here by our building. I stepped away for a moment and then we had a brick thrown through our window.”
Mendenhall said the majority of protesters were grateful for the water and were friendly. She said she felt they had a right to be angry in support of their cause.
“The number one thing I want to say – I don’t blame the protesters for this,” Mendenhall said. “I think they are doing what they need to do to be heard. I don’t even know who threw the brick to be honest. It was a really hard, trying day.”
Mendenhall said friends from another local business, Blind Bob’s, helped board up the broken window. Mendenhall said she appreciated their help and for helping her get through the night.
A year after the KKK rally in downtown Dayton and the Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak, Mendenhall felt the weekend could be the beginning of a turnaround for the city and the Oregon District, which suffered a mass shooting on Aug. 4, 2019, and the COVID-19 outbreak, which left many local businesses closed the last several months.
“I thought we were going to turn a corner,” Mendenhall said. “The KKK rally, the tornadoes, the mass shooting in our district, then this. We have to hear people who say things have to change. I’m not angry, I just want things to change.”
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