Forsyth County, GA. Protest Organizers Received ‘Incredible Support From Community’

The Forsyth Admin and Cumming City Hall will close at noon on Friday due to a planned assembly in downtown Cumming Saturday.

By Kathleen Sturgeon, Patch Staff 
Jun 4, 2020 12:24 pm ET | Updated Jun 5, 2020 11:00 am ET
Planned protests for Friday, much like this from downtown Alpharetta Wednesday, will occur in downtown Cumming.
Planned protests for Friday, much like this from downtown Alpharetta Wednesday, will occur in downtown Cumming. (Kathleen Sturgeon/Patch)

CUMMING, GA — Ahead of a planned protest in downtown Cumming, the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St., and Cumming City Hall, 100 Main St., will close at noon on Friday.

The “Forsyth County Peaceful Protest” is planned for noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Cumming in front of the Forsyth County Courthouse. The organizers are describing it as “a peaceful protest for unity and equality in honor of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and encouraging community policing and accountability.”

One of those organizers is Candice Horsley, who has lived in Forsyth County for more than three years. She said the main goals of the protest are to support black lives matter, demand equality, and encourage community policing and accountability

“I couldn’t sit back and not do anything,” Horsley said. “My family is interracial, it is important that I raise my kids to stand up for what they believe in to have a voice and support and stand with people who are in need. Right now the black community needs us, all of us.

She has worked with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office to make sure the groups were in alliance, so she reached out to them, applied for the permit and spoke with them during the planning process.

“The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has been extremely supportive and helpful in ensuring this event is a success,” Horsley said. “They support the community. It is equally important to them as it is to us that this event shows what a strong community we are and that we are all united for one goal.”

Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said Thursday morning that an application for a lawful assembly was filed on Wednesday with Forsyth County for later this weekend.

“Additional inquiries were made today for other potential assemblies,” Freeman said Thursday. “The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with the organizer and other interested parties; they have been both cooperative and open to suggestions from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for safety and congestion concerns. The applicant and interested parties are Forsyth County residents who have clearly voiced their desire for a positive and safe event.”

Initially, Horsley applied for a 50-75 person permit. But as word got out, she said she now anticipates around 500 people on Saturday.

“It’s amazing, it gives me chills,” she said. “This community has a powerful voice and supports each other. (We want) to show our support to unite peacefully as one and continuously demand accountability not only with law enforcement, but each other.”

For anyone planning to attend, Horsley says to “be peaceful, show the love and support within our community, do not engage with those who do not share our beliefs, stay focused and carpool.”

Additionally, the event flyer says, “everyone welcome, peaceful family protest, please wear face masks or practice social distancing.”

Freemen said the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, “supports any citizen in the exercise of their 1st Amendment right and is ready to work alongside partner agencies and Forsyth County Government to ensure any assembly is both safe and without incident.”

“While we applaud the organizers’ spirit in promoting a safe event and a peaceful expression of their thoughts and beliefs, and we expect nothing less, we will strictly enforce legal action against any party who commits a criminal act,” Freeman said. “Our nation finds itself in turmoil. Forsyth County has the opportunity to be an example of respectful citizens, whether they agree 100 percent or not with one another on every topic, our citizens can show the nation what communities can do when they respect one another. This is a community that comes together when others are in need; what our nation needs now is mutual respect from one human to another.”

The Cumming Police Department added that they, “are aware of several demonstrations that have been planned at various locations throughout the upcoming weekend. We will be working closely with the Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies to provide a safe place for any who wish to peacefully gather and demonstrate in our community.”

Those with scheduled appointments in the Forsyth County Administration building on Friday afternoon are asked to reschedule and will be contacted by county staff as necessary. County operations will continue as normal and residents are encouraged to utilize the county’s online services to conduct business on Friday. A list of online services can be found by visiting Forsythco.com/onlineservices.

City operations will continue, and residents can access city departments via electronic means as necessary on Friday afternoon. Departmental contact information can be found online under the Departments tab.

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