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County to close courthouse early Friday amid plans for downtown rallies

The Morgan County Commission has made the decision to close the county courthouse an hour early on Friday, August 21 to let county employees clear the downtown area ahead of two planned rallies.

Commission President Joel Tuttle confirmed that decision to close the courthouse at 4 p.m. on Friday was in response to concerns about large crowds, unusual amounts of traffic and potential conflict in the downtown area.

Tuttle said the early closure was the recommendation of law enforcement.

A Black Lives Matter rally will be held at the Berkeley Springs State Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday evening. An event flier being circulated on social media says there will be music, refreshments and local speakers at the event. Organizers, identifying themselves as The Berkeley Springs Allies, have said the gathering will be held in support of community members of color. Masks and social distancing will be required, the event page says.

A second rally has grown up in response to the Black Lives Matter gathering. The Mountaineer Warrior Alliance has said it will  come to Berkeley Springs with a presence of motorcycle groups to ensure the Black Lives Matter protestors are peaceful and don’t “dishonor” the American flag or damage property. Organizers have said they will “stand and observe” the Black Lives Matter protest. Their event page on social media has said they don’t desire any violence, but warns those who are concerned for their safety not to attend the Friday rally.

Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer, also via social media, released statements that his department and the Berkeley Springs Police Department have had planning meetings about the rallies and are prepared to ensure public safety on Friday in the downtown area.

He recommended that local residents seek out alternative routes around the downtown square in Berkeley Springs on Friday evening.

“We also recommend staying clear of the area if you have safety concerns,” the Sheriff posted.

“We respect the right of every citizen to exercise their First Amendment rights but we want things to remain peaceful!” he wrote.

Bohrer urged residents to limit spreading rumors about the two events as one way to keep them peaceful.

Two protests were held in the area of the Berkeley Springs State Park in June without incident. The first was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the second, two weeks later, showed support for law enforcement officers.





  1. george miller on August 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    my letter to editor in August 19th edition of Morgan Messenger about Seeing people as if they were books and to value each one has the appropriate theme message here.I am a Vietnam Era Veteran who stood tall during heated protests against our involvement in Vietnam yet I supported everyone’s right to peacefully assemble when need to seek redress of perceived wrongs by our Government. That all is patriotic and what our men and women in uniform stand to preserve. I want to add little more here. As a young man 18 yrs old my first day as a suit wearing office worker I found myself walking thru a RIOT in Newark New Jersey . That riot started over a rumor that some white police beat to death a black cab driver . this was in Summer of 1967 The rumor later proved false but not before four horrible violent days and 26 riot related dead. National Guard had to shoot some of the rioters. To this day the riot was labeled a race riot. Not so If it was racial why was I not targeted walking well dressed groomed carrying a attache case.. No it was simply over injustices that continue to feaster across our nation because we don’t have the will to stop it all . and the law enforcement been isolated in patrol cars which helps foster mentality of combat zone patrols of us vs them attitudes. and residence also return similar resentment when both sides really need each other

  2. Richard Fullmer on August 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    You are right. It was the same in the early 70’s. A minority of people feel justified in causing riot and destruction guided by corrupt lawyers and politicians at any cause that will give them some type of advantage. These people are the real danger to America.

  3. John Brown on August 20, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    The “Berkeley Springs Allies” are no allies of Berkeley Springs’s healing peacefulness or me. BLM are Marxist. As a local I resent that the communist hate group BLM’s event will be allowed take place in our beautiful park. Why is this being allowed? All lives matter. Those whom have organized this are ill, ill-informed, sick, un-American, non-patriotic, Godless, limited in awareness & intellect. BLM “protests” are riots of looting, violence, property damage, unlawful anarchy. Apple Butter cancelled, but this is allowed… You so called Berkeley Springs Allies should be ashamed. I am ashamed of you, of our officials for allowing this… Your type always is the opposite of what they name them selves. Your not allies to our town, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latino, Natives, nor to any American. You are being used by the greatest enemy of us and you. How can we feel we live in a safe place when the law suggests we stay away from our own park for our safety? This is disgusting.

    • James P Clay on August 21, 2020 at 7:57 am

      You are absolutely right John, couldnt have said it better myself. It is hard to believe law enforcement would allow this. Yet these cults go against them. Makes no sense to me. I also find it odd how BLM comes here for their rally at the very same time the schools are giving free hair cuts and free school supplies for the children. Total sickening..

    • Jay Beckham on August 21, 2020 at 8:37 am

      John, thanks for your comment and standing up to the status quo. I left the Washington area for many reasons 47 years ago because of what was happening. Now 47 years later it is apparently coming to Berkeley Springs. It is discussing and this whole movement is an attempt to suck our God loving citizens into a Communist system under the pretense of progressiveness. We must stop this now and November is our opportunity. We must continue to Make America Great Again. The alternative is death to freedom.

    • Parker on August 21, 2020 at 9:51 am

      You’re damn right I’m a Marxist and I’m proud of it. I also hate America and I’m a gay feminist Jew. Have fun with that

      • Tom Waxter on August 21, 2020 at 12:42 pm

        Parker I’m not having fun with your situation you sound like your young ,what I’m having fun with is you hate America and yet your still here .

      • Robert on August 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm

        If you hate America, then move… see how other countries like your gay feminist persona. Bye!

      • Jim on August 21, 2020 at 7:07 pm

        If you hate America so much why don t you just leave, I m sure you can find enough America loving people that will help pay for a ticket any where you would like to go, maybe China or Russia or Iran where they would behead someone like you!!

    • Roselee Martinez on August 21, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      I totally agree all lives matter. And they have no right to be here they don’t even live here so why come. They want to destroy our beautiful park n town just because they can. Do they have permits to do this?

    • Becca sterling on August 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      It’s called the right to protest. You don’t have a say in what people do or don’t believe in. They’re standing up to what they think is right and honestly doubt you’ll be out there protesting against it. I get it’s your opinion them saying black lives matter is not saying all lives matter it’s simply saying that people of color are having a rough time right now and need people’s awareness on the social injustice that they are facing right now so I get we all have opinions but it’s better to keep them to yourself

    • Dennis L Sanders on August 21, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      amen brother

    • Trisha on August 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      Agree with John. ALL LIVES MATTER. If the hateful group BLM (which promotes getting rid of fathers) is allowed to have a rally…lets have Trumpsters ,Deplorables and Patriots have rallys. Why do good folks have to stay away from a park for our safety anyway?

    • K. Smith on August 21, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      Well said, I agree!

  4. Robert on August 21, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Agree, Mr. Brown. Can someone please tell me why this is even occurring in our small town when less than 1% of the Berkeley Springs population is Black/African American?

    • James P Clay on August 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Your guess is as good as mine, maybe they want to be destroyed by rednecks lol

    • Roselee Martinez on August 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Good question they don’t live here. We bother no one. And most don’t agree with the group because its a hate. Group. All lives matter n our fine Police lives matters.

  5. Robert on August 21, 2020 at 9:47 am

    It’s all due to our social media obsessed, “want to feel part of something”, “that offends me”, “that hurt my feelings”, poor misguided youth. If you “allies” really want to do something for our community, do something about the heroin/opioid dependent/overdosing multiple times a week because they get repeatedly saved by Narcan population.. rather than something that only affects a minuscule part of our community, and won’t do anything to better Berkeley Springs in the long run.

  6. George Washington on August 21, 2020 at 11:58 am

    The BLM movement is about equal treatment under the justice system. The message is that all loss of life should be treated the same and the killers should meet swift justice regardless of their race, class or ethnicity. There is no call for Marxism or communism. Those are the standard talking points used to marginalize any cry for equality.

    Come out with a mask, an open mind and an open heart and see for yourself. Don’t let the media drive your opinions. Please ignore the ignorant social media posts and memes created to stir us into division via misinformation. BLM protests are peaceful. I’m a citizen of Martinsburg and I have attended 14 BLM protests this year in multiple cities. ALL were peaceful.

    There are many who look to subvert the message by causing unrest. Don’t fall for those tactics. I look forward to standing side by side with my fellow Americans of all races and backgrounds in effort to inspire change for the common good of us all.

    I hope you all have a wonderful day!

    • Patty on September 13, 2020 at 9:32 am

      BLM is not what it appears to be. Go to their website. They are led by admitted Marxists.

  7. Billy Bob on August 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Look out! All the couch commandos will be out stroking their AR-15s during a peaceful protest made up of a bunch of teenagers and old hippies. Get a life!

  8. Jay X. on August 21, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I think the majority of us in this community feel the same. We dont want hatebreeders manifesting in this lovely community. I wish not to see this in the future. These are radicals trying to start problems. This has nothing to do with race. These young people including myself have most likely never even experienced racism the way there parents or grandparents did. Dont fall for this BS . HATE is all this group is about.

  9. Siri Sophar on August 21, 2020 at 1:12 pm


    BLM is not a marxist group. It is a civil rights group that I support. Please do not state things that you are sure of and do not have evidence for. You may disagree, but stop the name calling. That is what is causing the division in this country. As you know, I am also a veteran I am part of a military family with many retirees. Every generation in both my husband’s and my side have served including our children and grandchildren. Between my husband and I we have 53 years of service. I think we are loyal patriotic Americans.

    I have young black grandchildren who will no longer visit me because their mother is frightened of her own and her chidrdren’s safty since VDare has moved into town. I am afraid for my grandchildren’s safety as they mature because Black Lives Matter.

    I lived in a predominantly black middle class neighborhood many years ago. I observed first how differently black people were treated from white people.

    I will be at the demonstration.

  10. Becca sterling on August 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    You guys are afraid of change that’s all it is

    • Consternation? on August 25, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Why all this consternation? Just a casual reminiscing : Either OJ-Simpson, Rodney King -riots- looting, Hurricane Katrina- riots-looting, Michael Brown- riots-looting, Drug induced George Floyd- Part time porno star, riots-looting..
      Whether it is Judicial, Resisting arrest, Criminal, or Mother Nature -Environmental. it is always the same linear reaction, riots and looting.. and now we add to the mix, the defacing of national and state monuments in everywhere America.. One can fill two pages of efforts the Government and a collective people have given to minorities over the last 50 yrs.. but it never ends..
      Thomas Jefferson stated that the two races must be separated and even our beloved Abrahamn Lincoln, stated that the two races under the same form of Govt Can Not live together.. Today, and the examples past show the reality of this. So why dont we start talking about regional seperation – so we can advance and create a history and culture based own our own efforts. Continuing to acquiesce only heightens the divide.. it is not rocket science people..

      For all those who get offended by my opinion, just doubles and magnifies the reality that what I state, however sharply distressing is how we advance.

  11. Jay on August 21, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    So let me get this right. If you exercise your constitutional right to express your opinion via *peaceful* assembly you’re automatically Marxist, Un-American and godless. Common you’re better than that. Just because it’s not your worldview doesn’t make it less valid – just different. I’m pretty sure not every counter protestor that will attend is a gun toting, racist, backwater Neanderthal. Different strokes for different folks. The name calling is a zero sum game folks. If people don’t like others exercising their rights maybe China, Russia, Saudi Arabia or Iran would be more to your liking.

    * Now if one resorts to violence, destroys property or breaks the law they should be held to the legal consequences. Otherwise the supreme law of the land allows them to do just what they are doing.

  12. Kathy Hague on August 21, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    I’m sorry to see such racist comments about having a Black Lives Matter event in your town. I lived in West Virginia for four years and I understand your state does not have a large black population. But it does have a black population and those people need support. They’re not just coming to your town to raise a ruckus. There are people in your state that don’t feel safe, and after reading these comments I totally understand why.
    I would also like to tell the black population
    That a lot of Americans do you stand with you, it’s pretty evident considering all of the protests, and I pray that you have a safe protest. It sounds like there are people coming from other parts of the state just to harass you. The citizens of West Virginia who made comments here should be ashamed of their selves. One of these days it may be you that is afraid for your life, then you’ll know how it feels.

  13. GAIL BRISCOE-BEASLEY on August 21, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Well said George Washington. Best response on this page!!!

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