This year has been challenging for many. To voice their concerns, residents have been exercising their freedom of speech, from marching on the streets to putting up signs of what they believe in. This is a freedom the City has and will continue to protect.
One resident on the south side of town has been using her right to protest, and in the last couple of weeks has experienced harassment in various forms.
On Thursday night, Goshen Police and Fire responded to 615 S. Main Street on reports that one of the resident’s signs was on fire. The sign was dangerously close to the resident’s house—to the point where a witness had to pull the sign away from the house before calling in the emergency.
Mayor Jeremy Stutsman has the following comment:
“We need to find a way to come together as a community. I understand we are living in a time when emotions are running high, but we can’t allow senseless acts of harassment and criminal behavior to threaten someone’s safety. There is no room for this in our society or our community. We need to stop being so angry about how others feel about one issue or another. Everyone has a right to their voice and to their safety. If you disagree with others, take the time to have a conversation and respectfully share your opinions. You never know, you both may just learn something new.
“My administration and the Goshen Police Department will continue to do all we can to stop criminal activities before they happen. If a crime is committed we will do all we can to arrest the individuals responsible for committing said crime.
“No matter how you feel on the issues being discussed, senseless acts of violence make no one safer. In fact, they instill fear, put others in danger and cost both private individuals and the community money. We will not stand for this in Goshen.
“I would like to thank the individual who acted quickly to protect the occupants and home they live in. If anyone has information related to this criminal act, please contact the Police Department.”
The Goshen Police Department is investigating the incident. Chief Jose’ Miller made the following remarks:
“As the Chief of Police, I believe in the rights of all individuals to peacefully assemble and to exercise their constitutional right for freedom of speech, I believe this should be done with mutual respect for each other without biases based on differences of any kind. I’ve always been proud of Goshen for their efforts promoting diversity and inclusiveness.
“The Goshen Police Department understands these are polarizing times, diversity is extremely important and that includes diversity of thought, and the freedom to peacefully promote your beliefs. We will not tolerate acts of violence or destruction of property to those who choose to peacefully demonstrate and exercise their rights.”