Downtown Caution

Rumors swirled yesterday morning on social media: An Antifa-led protest was headed to Westport.

It wasn’t.

Several dozen protesters did gather at Jesup Green. Assisted by Westport police, they marched across the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge to Norwalk, then returned. They ended up — chanting “Black lives matter!” — at the police station on Jesup Road, where Chief Foti Koskinas spoke movingly to them of his experiences as a first-generation America.

But last night — out of caution, fear or both — at least 2 downtown businesses boarded their windows.

Tiffany on the Post Road …

… and the Sunglass Hut on Main Street. (Photos/Chip Stephens)

There were no reports of any demonstrators.

And certainly no looting.

18 responses to “Downtown Caution

  1. Important to be vigilant – boarding windows is a good deterrent. One of our locations, in an upscale Manhattan neighborhood, was looted last night as were many others. Thank God no employees were hurt. The vast majority of protestors are peaceful. However, it only takes a small number of bad actors. In our case they arrived with power tools and knew exactly what they wanted to steal. The police were overwhelmed and are still not at our store 6 hours later.

    • David Krasne

      Thankfully no employees were hurt, but I’m sorry you had to endure the damage.

      Likewise, no one was seriously injured during the protests in Beverly Hills, CA over the weekend. I have included a link to pictures of the aftermath. Much of the vandalism (of properly, art installations, and museums) didn’t reflect people justifiably upset by the death of George Floyd or decades (centuries) of institutional racism, but reflected the work of opportunists attempting to hijack these well meaning protests with efforts to address other, largely socio-economic issues.

      • David Krasne

        To those wondering why the pics of what happened to Beverly Hills would be relevant to Westport, I believe the perception is the groups (across the ideological spectrum) that are hijacking well-meaning, peaceful protests for their own intention or possibly to frame others seem to be targeting many towns, including those perceived to be more affluent.

  2. John D. McCarthy

    “We have nothing to fear but fear itself….” A bunch of teenagers from out of town peacefully march through Westport and the first reaction is fear. Really sad, this is just where Trump and the Republicans want us come election day.

  3. Adam Vengrow

    damm the world is in a sad state, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, there are simply just bad apples in every group… we have a great town that helps out almost any cause and any need in this community, everybody just needs to remember that we should keep leading by example

  4. Geralyn Breig

    A couple of thoughts.
    First, please, please please always check the source of things posted online. If it is not coming from a reputable source you could be being manipulated by bad actors who are targeting you for example to stoke fear. FB literally allows any and all misinformation, paid bots, etc. to post. And, “I heard from someone who knows someone who something” has rarely been a reliable source; it’s gossip. The posts about planned looting etc. were NOT warnings coming from Town Hall or Chief Foti yesterday. In fact, a text from the town came regarding opening up the beaches/parks further to larger gatherings just as some of the FB groups were freaking out here yesterday – – the Town would have been sending a warning if there had been a credible threat. I for one simply turned on the tv, and there for anyone to see was our Chief of Police and a peaceful march.
    Second, shame on Tiffanys and others boarding up their stores in Westport, CT. This is not NYC or any city with literally millions of people raising the odds of mayhem. What are they afraid of in Westport- – a cocktail party breaking out?
    Finally, don’t add to the problem. If you can’t be genuinely helpful, just don’t make things worse.

    • I agree with you completely about internet rumors, It disagree with your Tiffany statement. There is no harm in being proactively protective of one’s property. No one expected the degree of destruction in NYC, a pandemic, or any of this. I hope you’re right but “it can’t happen here” is naive and and misguided.

    • Josh Stein

      NYPD has credible intel all of the time on protests. They alert their precincts and officers. However, its usually the media who gets a leak or source of information or copy of the briefing/bulletin and starts warning the general public. This is from my first-hand experience. Unfortunately, I don’t think Westport (or any small town in CT)’s capabilities are anything like the NYPD for tracking agitators, social media, etc.

    • Thank you, Geralyn! When I saw the Tiffany plywood being placed, I vowed never to buy another diamond or ruby from them…..Who the hell do they think they are to come to Westport and treat us like New York. As to the sun glass joint, screw ’em.

  5. Michael Isaacs

    I was told by a police officer last year when cars were being broken into that Westport police had four or five on-duty squad cars between midnight and daybreak. Westport is a sitting duck for any quasi-organized gangs that decide to target the town’s commercial areas. If I owned a store I would board it up, remove all expensive merchandise and keep it that way for at least a few weeks. No one has any idea what’s next. Westport police should be having as many cars and officers available as possible between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. They should be keeping their flashing lights on non-stop going up and down the Post Road and downtown. Show outsiders that they are ready.

    • Josh Stein

      Agree. This past weekend Bridgeport PD had to request assistance of neighboring towns due to a breach at their Police HQ. From what I saw, it was a relatively small group that overran their perimeter. I’d even say earlier than 11pm!

  6. Jane Minion

    Police Chief Koskinas is a prince among men
    We are indeed fortunate
    Remember to pray all remain safe.

    • Adam Vengrow

      fyi, our town is the way it is because our police, fire and govt do an incredible job. What most people don’t know, is how many arrests and bad situations our Wesport PD deal with as we are a major throughway for drug trafficking between NYC, stamford, bridgeport and new haven. we don’t hear it or see it because the cops do a great job protecting us from it. NYC is a war zone downtown. providence rhode island was destroyed last night. just as the minny cops had some very bad apples in its group, there are protesters that always have a few bad ones that can ruin a law abiding good protest. everybody has to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. that is the only way

    • jane you are right on!!!

  7. Mariana Servin

    So sad to see this happening in our town and country. What I take away is that when you allow the destruction of social trust and community, sooner or later… everyone pays. I hope we are learning a lesson that we cannot ‘isolate’ ourselves from the pain and anger that other Americans feel. Time for all of us to stop so-called leaders that fuel the flames of anger, discord and fear for personal benefit. Chief Koskinas is a model example of what we need: dialogue and coming together with common sense! Bravo!

  8. Josh Stein

    @ Dan how do you know the protest that took shape the other day was not organized on social media by Antifa or another similar group? There has been some indications that is actually the case. I have seen things unfold days/hours in advance in real time quite a few times. NYPD has a unit dedicated to tracking this sort of stuff on social media. They are able to disseminate information to OEM, precincts, officers, etc. They do a hell of a lot of tracking and preparation. Even using undercover officers. I can tell you many “protests” may seem to be one thing on the surface but are really something else. Unfortunately, I do not think Westport (or any town police force in CT) is as well-equipped as the NYPD. Hoping we don’t see anything like what NYC has been dealing with…

    • Well, antifa is a militant group. There were no weapons here on Tuesday.

      • True but that is not to say they or a similar group did not have their hand in organizing or spreading word. There are folks posting on Front Porch stating they think it was all organized by high school students. So far none of them can point to the true source other than they heard something or read something somewhere. I saw some of the posts on social media. Either from fake accounts, people that were not in high school, or people nowhere near Westport. I am all for fighting for a right but as another Porcher pointed out, there may have been some ill-intent with the most recent gathering (not the one prior) where outsiders were agitating/promoting with no direct or even indirect affiliation or support for Floyd, BLM, etc. I am praying that Friday will be peaceful…