Organizers of a Black Lives Matter rally in Chardon have canceled the demonstration that was scheduled to take place on Friday, following the killing of Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz.
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Julia Manring, a Chardon High School alum and Chardon resident who was organizing the event, told 3News that between 50-75 people were expected to take part in the demonstration and that they are all against gun violence.
Friday's rally was scheduled to occur one week after the Chardon High School football team made headlines for carrying a thin blue line flag onto the field prior to their season opener against Eastlake North. The symbol is associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement, a display of unity among police officers in response to the national Black Lives Matter movement.
Following the display, Chardon Superintendent Michael Hanlon enforced the district's existing board policy that "governs staff participating in perceived political activity."
"Given the turbulent times facing our country right now, this action understandably drew responses on social media and direct communications to district officials," Hanlon wrote in a letter to students and parents.
Hanlon's letter was met with no shortage of backlash, including from Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri, who called for the superintendent to resign. On Friday, Chardon High School announced it would be implementing a “Free Speech Zone” on the lawn in front of the school for Friday night’s football game, where people are permitted to host a rally in support of police and other law enforcement officials.
The cancellation of Friday's rally comes hours after the 53-year-old Skernivitz was shot and killed while working undercover in the area of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue. A second person, 50-year-old Scott Dingess, was also shot and killed and three people have since been arrested in connection with the incident.