Corbin City Police Chief says first night of protest peaceful, will be present Friday and Saturday

Sgt. Jason Moore and Corbin City Police Chief Rusty Hedrick kneel with protestors to end Thursday night's protest at Nibroc Park. | Screenshot of video by Erin Cox

CORBIN - “It was good. It was peaceful, no issues,” is how Corbin City Police Chief Rusty Hedrick described Thursday night’s protest that saw over 100 people in Corbin’s Nibroc Park.

“We just let them know we were there for their support, and that law enforcement as a whole we would like to see peace and unity among everyone,” Hedrick said. “It went really well, I was very pleased.”

Chief Hedrick said Corbin City Police had all of their officers ready because of their uncertainty on how the protest would play out.

“We didn’t know what size crowd we were going to have. We didn’t know how they were going to be acting,” he explained. “But once we got out there and seen the crowds interacting, they were very respectful and thanked us for being out there.”

According to Hedrick, Corbin Police were on scene at approximately 6 p.m., about half an hour before the protest was scheduled to start. Officers stayed near the back of the park for most of the protest, but gradually moved towards the protest as the evening continued. The 12 officers on-hand rotated in and out with one another throughout the protest.

As Hedrick explains, Corbin’s first-shift of officers, who are normally scheduled to leave at 3 p.m., stayed in support of those officers who work second-shift.

“So, we do have to acquire some overtime money to do this,” Hedrick confirmed.

The protest ended at 9:30 p.m. at which time, Hedrick said everyone disassembled peacefully and went on their way. Before disbanding however, there was the potential for hostility as one man brought a Confederate flag and held it, standing across the street from the protestors.

Some words were exchanged between protestors and the man, but nothing transpired as officers reminded protestors to stay on the sidewalk and to not use explicit language.

Towards the end of Thursday’s demonstration, protestors took a moment to take a knee in remembrance of those who have passed away. Chief Hedrick said he and Corbin’s officers were invited to join in kneeling by the event’s participants.

“In their closing they wanted to do a silent prayer and take a knee for peace and unity, and we chose to show them that we’re there for that support and for that mission also,” said the Chief.

Hedrick said he expects the number of participants in the protest to grow as the movement gains momentum.

“I’m sure they’ll be some out there who had seen the gathering yesterday, and there may be those who didn’t participate last night to come out,” he said. “That’s our anticipation and we’ll prepare the same.”

“We’re in this together,” Hedrick noted. “There’s evil everywhere in the world and that’s what creates a lot of this animosity is just evil,” he continued. “But unity, peace, and coming together as a community is what’s going to get us through this.”

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