MACEDONIA – The Walmart in the Macedonia Commons Shopping Center off Route 8 closed around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon following apparent rumors that a demonstration related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis would be taking place, according to police
Police Lt. Vince Yakopovich said no demonstration materialized as of 5 p.m. though two individuals earlier in the afternoon told police they did show up for a protest and social media posts referring to plans for a demonstration at the store continued throughout the day.
He said officers told the two who said they had arrived to demonstrate to move away from the store and they left after about an hour.
"They sat under a tree on the tree lawn in the shade," he said.
Yakopovich said the department had heard rumors Monday night there would be a demonstration at the store and notified other area departments to be on standby for mutual aid should crowd control assistance be needed. Some departments, including Twinsburg and Boston Heights, sent cruisers of their own accord to check things out, he said.
A steady stream of shoppers walking up to the store around 2 p.m. were greeted by store employees calling out "We’re closed" as other shoppers were leaving with their purchases. When asked for the reason by one customer, an employee yelled back "All I can tell you is we are closed. We’ll be open tomorrow morning."
A store manager who declined to be identified gave no explanation. Another store worker said the order to close came from "corporate."
Other businesses in the area remained open, except for the Cinemark on the other side of Macedonia Commons Boulevard. The movie theater, like numerous other venues, remains closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Protests throughout the country, some accompanied by rioting, have spread since the May 25th death of Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Property damage was reported following demonstrations in Akron and Cleveland, but demonstrations in smaller towns such as Kent on Sunday and Ravenna on Monday took place without arrests or other incidents.
In Macedonia, the only disturbance was apparently in peoples’ imaginations, Yakopovich said.
"A friend of mine was picking up groceries at the Giant Eagle and one of the clerks there told him, ‘Don’t go to the Walmart; there’s a riot going on there.’"
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