Aurora shopkeeper says protesters exterior his store have began following him; Protesters say his masks coverage of flattening the masks when shopping for age-restricted merchandise is racist
AURORA, Ill. (CBS) – Fighting keeps brewing between a shopkeeper and some in his community, and now the shopkeeper says that some pickets in his shop keep going by actually following him.
It’s freezing, but JL Harris, the protest organizer, keeps slapping the sidewalk.
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“I’m still here because we’re still having problems,” he said.
Harris and others have been protesting outside the Kwik Store on Lake in Aurora since last month. It is about the owner demanding that customers reduce facial coverage when purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.
“It’s bigger now,” said Harris.
He said the six-week in-store demonstration now addresses the lack of respect minorities get when shopping.
“I don’t think George is a bad guy. I just think he and we need an understanding, ”Harris said of shopkeeper George Galanis.
Galanis said Harris continued to threaten. He points to a video in which Harris is recorded that he is following Galanis.
“George, we followed you to the Dollar Store,” he says on the video.
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“If someone says we’re following you, I have reason to believe that I might be in danger,” said Galanis.
Galanis handed the video over to the police for harassment.
“They like to protest for some reason,” he said. “There is a right way to protest without following someone to different places.”
“The only time I ever called the police was when my life was threatened,” Harris said.
Aurora Police Department reported to CBS 2 between December 19 and February 1 that officials had replied to the store 21 times on 16 different days due to this ongoing dispute.
While Harris is holding signs outside, Galanis has put up his own signs inside to identify protesters as thugs.
“I didn’t start this first,” he said. “Second, these people say things about me.”
“That’s why we protest,” said Harris. “Because we’re tired of it.” We’re not all thugs and bad people. “
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Aurora Police say they are aware of threat reports from both sides, but none of them have been substantiated. The police say it seems like nothing more than a civil affair.