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No arrests at Monday Black Lives Matter protest

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Ray Ceballos stands in front of a line of people holding signs Monday during a Black Lives Matter protest on North Main Street outside the Chaves County Courthouse. According to Ceballos, 100 people participated in the nonviolent protest in response to the death of George Floyd, 46, a black man who died in police custody after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. Mike Herrington, Chaves County sheriff, said no arrests were made during Monday’s event. (Alex Ross Photo)

No arrests were made Monday night during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Roswell, something that drew praise from both the organizer of the protest and Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington.

“Very impressed with the way they conducted themselves,” Herrington said Tuesday when asked for his assessment of how the demonstration on the sidewalk along North Main Street, outside the Chaves County Courthouse, went late Monday.

Ray Ceballos, a Roswell resident and the organizer of the demonstration, said during its peak, 100 people showed up at the protest, a turnout he described as excellent.

The protest was one of many taking place in cities across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him down and knelt on Floyd’s neck. The incident was caught on video.

Some protests have been peaceful, but many others have seen looting, property damage and violence.

Ceballos though said during the protest Monday he had Herrington’s cellphone number and would report any unlawful activity.

Monday’s protest, Ceballos said, was the first demonstration he has organized.

“I have always supported (causes) from the sidelines and decided in order for me to really become part of this fight, I needed to be physically present to help make a change,” he said.

Demonstrators, Herrington said, remained in one place and did not incite any violence or property damage.

“So it was handled exactly the way it should be,” he said.

Before Monday’s protests began, Herrington had told participants they had to remain on the sidewalk near the courthouse, could not be on the grass, block traffic or get physical with other people. He also warned them that any disorderly behavior would result in arrest to prevent wider unrest from occurring.

Herrington said he likes the idea of people publicly expressing themselves but that it must be done in an orderly manner.

Another demonstration is rumored to be in the works for today, in the same location as Monday’s protest. It is not organized by Ceballos, though Herrington said it is believed to be organized by someone who resides in California but previously lived in Roswell.

If Wednesday’s demonstration turns out like Monday, Herrington said, there will be nothing to worry about. However, Roswell police and sheriff’s deputies will be close by when the demonstrations take place to ensure no criminal acts occur.

“So if someone tries to disrupt their protest with violence, we will be there to take care of them and if they start to become unruly, we’ll take care of that as well,” he said.

Ceballos said he will be at work and unable to attend the protest rumored to be happening later today, but suggests protesters be constantly encouraging each other to remain positive and remind them not to reciprocate any negative actions that would take away from the meaning of the demonstration.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.