Video captures scuffle between Trump, BLM supporters in Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD — Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a scuffle Friday between an apparent Trump supporter and a Black Lives Matter protester at the busy Coltsville intersection of Merrill Road and Dalton Avenue.
A video of the incident, which ends with the Trump supporter laying motionless on the ground, has been circulating widely on social media. A post of the video on Reddit has generated more than 4,000 comments.
The video also shows one man wearing a "Back the Blue" shirt and another with a Trump 2020 flag. One of the men involved in the fight was holding a megaphone and appeared to be with that group; the other is wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. Protesters also can be seen holding signs in the median.
An off duty Pittsfield Police officer in the area noticed the commotion and arrived first, said police Lt. Gary Traversa. Additional officers were dispatched at 4:21 p.m. to the vicinity of Kelly's Diner on Dalton Avenue.
"Once patrol units arrived on scene Friday," according to Traversa said. "They remained, and no other problems occurred."
No arrests were made, Traversa said, adding that investigators "have no information that an arrestable offense occurred."
The person who had fallen to the ground was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for what police believe were minor injuries, "as far as we know," Traversa said. He noted the man was conscious and alert when he was transported.
Tensions have been heightened nationwide this summer in the wake of incidents involving the police and Black citizens, including the death in May of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
The rally on Friday follows similar "pop-up" demonstrations in that section of the city over the past few weeks, Traversa said. The pro-Trump demonstrations have routinely drawn counterprotesters.
"It is our understanding that the organizers and many attendees are not city residents," he noted.
A Facebook group "Berkshire County Mass4Trump," is listed as "permanently closed," but a post invited protesters to gather as recently as Aug. 14 for a protest at the same location.
Moving forward the Pittsfield Police Department will send officers to future rallies "to maintain safety for the participants, as well as those traveling through the intersection," Traversa said.
Amanda Burke can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.
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