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Lancaster Police have made 8 arrests since demonstrations downtown began Saturday

Police say they are working with community leaders to keep the demonstrations peaceful, and warn anyone who promotes, threatens, or commits violence will be arrested
Credit: Lancaster Police
(Clockwise, from upper left): John Ratchford, Julia Yoder, Harry DeJesus, Christian Saunders, Emily Ruth, Said Brown, Julio Torres, Sabrina Espinosa.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Lancaster Police announced the arrest of eight people since the start of protests in the city on Saturday.

"Over the last two days demonstrations have continued to occur in front of the police station often involving unplanned marches," the department said. "The Lancaster Bureau of Police is committed to the safety of those attending the stationary demonstrations. We have been working diligently with community leaders to keep the demonstrations peaceful."

The police department also warned demonstrators not to threaten, promote, or commit acts of violence. Anyone who does so will be arrested and charged, police say.

RELATED: Lancaster Police: IED devices found near site of downtown protests early Tuesday morning

Since May 31, the following arrests have been made, according to police:

  • John Ratchford, 25, of Lancaster: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Julia Yoder, 22, of Akron: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Christian Saunders, 23, of Talmage: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Harry DeJesus, 20, of Lancaster: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Emily Ruth, 29, of Lancaster: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Said Brown, 20, of Lancaster: one count of obstructing highways and other public passages
  • Julio Torres, 22, of East Lampeter Township: aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
  • Sabrina Espinosa, 42, of Lancaster: criminal solicitation (riot) and disorderly conduct

Torres was arraigned and committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail. He later disclosed to police that he had tested positive for COVID-19, police confirmed.

Julio Torres tested positive for COVID-19 on May 7 and self-quarantined for three weeks according to Lancaster Stands Up.

They say Torres was advised throughout his quarantine by medical professionals through phone calls and that his symptoms subsided and cleared

Espinosa was arraigned and bail was set at $10,000 (unsecured). 

All other offenders were issued summons. 

Also on Tuesday, police say, a car attempting to drive onto the first block of West Chestnut street was stopped by demonstrators and surrounded. The car then drove through the group, according to police. That incident remains under investigation. Police are reviewing video footage and speaking to witnesses.

Lancaster Police Chief Jarrad Berkhiser thanked the demonstrators who are remaining peaceful in a statement.

Berkhiser said:

"I want to thank the many in attendance who remain peaceful and want their voice to be heard.  I want to thank the community leaders who have been working so hard on the ground to help organize and keep the demonstrations safe. I especially want to thank the many Bureau officers who have been working long hours, under stressful, emotional and difficult times to keep the area and people safe. 

"Also our officers who had the forethought on their own to want to speak with members attending the demonstration yesterday. Opening up a dialogue is a beginning, humanizing each other is necessary for the conversation to advance.