Community Leaders Team Up With City Officials, Pasco Police to E - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Community Leaders Team Up With City Officials, Pasco Police to Ensure a Safe Rally

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PASCO, WA. -- One of the biggest concerns Saturday was whether the protest would remain safe as it made its way through Pasco neighborhoods. With the national media descending on the Tri-Cities and a major protest planned, people were wondering if this would become a situation like we saw months ago in Furgeson. 

Despite the protesters marching against police action, we discovered how they worked alongside Pasco Police, Pasco city representatives and community organizers to make sure this march was done the right way. 

Even before the crowd arrived at Volunteer Park Saturday afternoon, the concern was if this protest would be peaceful. More than 40 "de-escalators" dressed in neon vests and armed with 2-way radios were given the task of controlling the crowd. 

"Part of this is just being careful so that our community can focus on making sure the right narrative goes out," Jeremy Peterson, community organizer said.

Speakers continued their plea for peace throughout Saturday afternoon. But it wasn't just the protesters who took safety measures. We met up with Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell in back of city hall. 

"Our departments have been working together in concert for the past few days preparing for this event," Zabell said. "First of all the street closures. Those are well planned out. In the park itself, we geared up the gazebo so they could have power to utilize the sound system. We put some porta potties out there in anticipation of crowds so that there would be some facilities for folks to use."

As the march moved along, the show of force from Pasco Police was minimal. 

"If you look around there's no police," Nicolas Zavala, an organizer said. "So we have to be protecting our own people."

"From a show of force stand point, that's not just something Pasco sees as a useful measure," Zabell said. 

With safety in mind, Pasco Police and community organizers put their differences aside to ensure everything Saturday afternoon went smoothly.

"We are protesting violence. We don't want violence against violence," Zavala said. 

Now, as night falls, we all hope it stays that way.