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Man detained at Missoula courthouse lawn released

Man detained at Missoula courthouse lawn released

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A man detained Friday evening after running into the crowd of demonstrators on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn was released without charges, Missoula Police Sgt. Mike Hebert said Saturday.

He said police did not find a weapon with the man and believe he does not pose a safety risk to the community. Police did not have the man's age or city of residence immediately available.

The man was detained for 10 or 15 minutes, Hebert said. The sergeant said he understands people attending the Black Lives Matter protest first restrained the man before two officers escorted him off the lawn.

"After we sorted everything out and removed him from the scene, there wasn't really anything for us to cite him with," Hebert said.

Friday night's protest was a continuation of a week of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police. Hundreds of people have rallied on the Missoula courthouse lawn over the last week. Tensions have flared at times but the demonstration has remained largely peaceful.

The man police briefly detained Friday had run into the crowd from the alley on the east side of the courthouse and onto the lawn chased by several others before being taken away by law enforcement. A protester said the brief incident was the most intense she had witnessed over the course of her three days there.

Hebert said just one other person had been cited in connection with the demonstration.

"A week ago, yesterday, there was one person that was arrested for some disorderly stuff," Hebert said. He said the man went onto West Broadway and refused to get out of the street.

"He was basically just taken before the Municipal Court, and I believe he was released on his own recognizance," he said.

The sergeant said he does not believe any other arrests or citations had taken place.

He also said diverse groups, Black Lives Matter organizers and people who are openly carrying weapons at the protest, had been talking and working together during the demonstration.

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