A group of Ada-area residents have organized a Black Lives Matter protest scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Friday in Ada.
The protest is one of many such events sweeping the nation in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, who is white, has been charged with second degree murder in Floyd’s death. In urban areas around the country, many of the protests have turned violent. Buildings have been looted and burned and there have been fatalities as angry protesters clash with police and others. Organizers of the Ada protest say they want to ensure the march is peaceful, and ask anyone who has any intention of doing anything other than peacefully marching with their group to stay away.
Participants plan to peacefully march east on Main Street, beginning at the depot across from the Rhynes and Rhodes furniture store. The march will continue eastward until participants reach the East Central University campus, where they will turn and march west, back down Main Street, until they reach Stockton. At Stockton, participants will turn south and proceed towards the area behind the Ada Police Department.
In a show of solidarity, both Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian and Ada Police Chief Carl Allen have committed to join with participants as they march Friday.
“I needed to get someone else’s perspective on the march and what it represents,” Christian said Tuesday. “I’ve been talking with someone with real-life racial perspectives — both lived and learned through actual experiences as a black person. After some education on racial issues and the injustices that have occurred and continue to occur — which I have never given thought to from their point of view — I have decided I will be marching on Friday.”
Christian won’t be the only member of Ada’s law enforcement community to join participants as they march. Ada Police Chief Carl Allen not only intends to march with participants, he helped design the route they would travel.
Organizers Is’Abella Miller, 18, of Ada; Christain Teel, 16, of Byng; Delanie Seals, 18, of Ada; Jasmine Laine, 18, of Ada; and Sha’Von Harrison, 19, of Ada, say they also want to draw attention to the Oct. 4, 2019, death of Anthony Meely. A medical examiner’s report indicates Meely died of cardiac arrest after an altercation with police near a northwest Ada apartment complex.
Meely collapsed after a confrontation with police, during which, police say, Meely repeatedly ignored instructions to stop while attempting to evade an officer. Meely later died in an ambulance while being treated by Mercy EMS paramedics. Organizers contend Meely’s death was unnecessary and could have been prevented if officers had handled the situation differently. Allen agreed to meet privately with the group Tuesday. While the details of what went on in that meeting have not yet been publicly disclosed, Allen said he was committed to marching with the group, and he believes additional Ada police officers will join him.