LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – There was a peaceful and powerful march in Liberty Friday evening. Protesters gathered outside of Taco Bell on Belmont Avenue, supporting Denzel Skinner, who says he lost his job because of his Black Lives Matter mask.
“For the betterment of us because not only do our lives matter, but our black dollars matter as well,” one protester said.
They walked a quarter-mile from a shopping center to the Taco Bell.
Several businesses in the area closed early, including Walmart and Taco Bell.
“We have to support one another, especially in these times. Everything is already chaotic in the world with everything going on,” Nichole Dunmire said.
Skinner was at the protest, explaining reasons why he believed he lost his job.
“She then said, ‘If you leave, you’re done.’ I then grabbed my keys and charger as I’m walking out. She says, ‘You don’t get it.’ I screamed at her and I told her, ‘You’re not us! You’re not a black human being! You don’t have to go through what we go through in this world!'”
Skinner said the company’s policy reads that employees must wear a face covering while working but does not say if employees can wear masks with messages on them.
Many stood by Skinner’s side, saying he deserves justice.
“If you’re white or black, he’s standing up for what he believes is right and no one should be wronged against that. You shouldn’t be fired,” Robert Rosenberg said.
Earlier this week, Taco Bell sent us a statement, saying they are looking into what happened at the Belmont Avenue restaurant and they are committed to fighting racial injustice.
Before the protest, Liberty Police Chief Toby Meloro released the following statement:
As police chief, it is my heartfelt goal to ensure the safety of everyone, including protestors, bystanders and business patrons. The Liberty Police Department and the township trustees will do everything in our power to protect the protestors while they exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. The goal is for your voices to be heard and for your right to be exercised in an orderly and peaceful manner.”