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WY – LE – Casper residents with guns patrol downtown after day of protests

Several group of armed Casper residents patrolled downtown on Wednesday night following a day of protests against police brutality. The groups, which consisted of mostly men, were gathered throughout the downtown area. Some sat in front of businesses. Others lingered at David Street Station, where the march began hours earlier. The armed residents told a reporter they were not there to disrupt additional protests, but rather to protect downtown should things escalate.  Josh Wheeler, a Wyoming candidate for U.S. Senate, stood armed with a long gun on a corner in downtown among maybe five or six others, to be “better safe than sorry,” he said. Wheeler supports the rights of protesters to demonstrate, but worried that there was the potential that protesters from earlier in the day could return downtown and start damaging property. His largest concern was the threat of outside influences wanting to agitate things. All the protesters the Star-Tribune interviewed earlier said they were Casper residents. Otis Blume said the group was planning to hang out downtown just to observe and report, and step in if need be. “A bunch of guys are worried about our town,” Bloom said, pointing to the destruction that has occurred during protests in major cities across the U.S. in the last week. Although there were several groups of armed residents, they said they were entirely unrelated from one another. John Creamer, armed with a small handgun in a holster at his side, patrolled Second Street downtown Wednesday dressed in a cutoff T-shirt with “Freedom Chasers” printed across the front. He was accompanied by a young man who was also armed with a larger firearm slung across his chest. “People were making comments that after dark these businesses weren’t safe,” Creamer said. A family in a white SUV pulled into a parking spot behind them, and a man and his daughter got out to thank the men for what they were doing, and to take a photo. A handful of others honked or yelled encouragement to the men as they passed from vehicles.  [full article]

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