As violence has broken out around the country during protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, some in Port Charlotte feared the same could happen here.
Small, sporadic protests occurred throughout the day in the Murdock retail area, with protesters mainly standing near intersections with signs bearing messages such as, "No Justice = No Peace," "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence = Violence."
The Port Charlotte Town Center mall contacted the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office on Monday shortly before noon to have protesters removed from the area, according to CCSO spokesperson Claudette Bennett.
However, no rioting or violence was reported.
The Sheriff's Office let the mall know the protesters were allowed to be there.
Bennett said the district lieutenant spoke with the protest organizer, who said it would be a peaceful protest with only about 15 people, and they would not be directly on the mall grounds. Mall security was also notified. A mall spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
A Black Lives Matter protest is planned for Friday, June 5, at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda from 6 to 8 p.m. A flier from the Indivisible Action Southwest Florida group states it will be a peaceful protest following COVID-19 guidelines. Participants are asked to wear masks and walk 6 feet apart. Water and masks will be provided.