Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Clark County Sheriff deputies early Thursday evening in Hazel Dell, a small community a few miles north of Vancouver, Washington. The details of this case remain hazy, with law enforcement agencies giving contradictory information about why Peterson was shot. The community response to Peterson's death has been far less murky.
On Friday evening, hundreds of mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil at the site of Peterson’s death—a US Bank parking lot on the east side of Route 99. Attendees included Peterson's family, friends, former classmates, and community members who've spent the past months engaged in racial justice protests. This group was met by another group of a few dozen people who came to protest the vigil by waving Trump and pro-police flags.
The peaceful vigil was followed by moments of conflict between mourners and armed protesters, as some attendees left the area to hold a march in downtown Vancouver. The march ended with several arrests of vigil attendees, journalists, and one legal observer. On Saturday evening, Black Lives Matter protesters returned to downtown Vancouver to decry Peterson's death, and were met by a crowd of right-wing demonstrators, some of whom were armed.
Here's what the weekend of tense and emotional events looked like:
Protesters from Hazel Dell and Portland remained in the streets from late Thursday evening to 5 am Friday, when Peterson’s parents were brought to see his body for the first time, almost 12 hours after their son's death.
More than a thousand mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday night in the US Bank parking lot where Peterson was killed.
Mourners created a makeshift shrine with candles, flowers, signs, notes, and balloons. Family, friends, and local activists spoke about Peterson’s life and aspirations, as well as the greater struggle against systemic racism in America.
A vigil attendee and a member of the Proud Boys, a right-wing nationalist group, have a conversation. As people left the vigil several mourners became embroiled in heated dialog and occasional fights, with at least 50 right-wing protesters a block to the north at the 99 Saloon & Grill. Some interactions were nonviolent discussions, while others ended with two parties rolling on the pavement, punching each other as mace filled the air.
Mourners moved from Hazel Dell to downtown Vancouver after the vigil for a march through the city. Three men stood guard in front of a bail bond office.
A family member of Peterson stands with her fist raised in front of dozens of Vancouver Police. Police entered the area and began pushing protesters north and west, making several arrests.
Vancouver Police make an arrest at the edge of Esther Short Park. This person was walking away as directed when officers rushed in and pulled them to the ground.
On Saturday, right-wing demonstrators arrived in downtown Vancouver in anticipation of a planned Black Lives Matter protest that evening. The two groups gathered on opposite sides of the street and proceeded to shout at each other.
Two combat veterans come together from opposing protest groups to discuss systemic racism and white privilege.
Black Lives Matter protesters marched throughout Vancouver Saturday evening, occasionally being cut off by lines of police. After two hours, officers blocked off two sides of a downtown intersection as a Halloween reveler found herself caught in the middle.
Armed right-wing demonstrators lingered near the start of the march.