A popular public movie night in Sarasota has been canceled because of a police protest.

Sarasota police frequently host movies downtown.

It’s a popular outreach to have fun and develop trust with the community. Many parents come out with blankets and the department will often have activities for children.

The department planned to show “The Emoji Movie” this Saturday and do free car seat checks but now, its been canceled.

“You’re bumming the kids,” said parent Seiji Esquivel.

Here’s the reason. Last week, officers arrested Chad Washington. Police say he was combative and high on drugs, but activists say they used excessive force.

So this Saturday night at 7:30, they scheduled a large protest at Selby Five Points Park.

“The police need to be accountable for what they’re doing when they’re doing something like that,” said Juliana Musheyev with ANSWER Suncoast.

Activists are demanding Washington’s charges to be dropped and the police officers to be fired.

Out of precaution, Police Chief Bernadette DiPino canceled the event.

“This Blue + You movie night is an opportunity for families to enjoy positive interaction with our officers and members of our agency.  Out of an abundance of caution, we feel the event would be more appropriate at a later date,” said Chief DiPino in a statement.

“I think its kind of crazy. They can protest any other time. This has already been planned and it’s ruining it for children. It’s kind of silly,” said parent Courtney Hamilton.

One parent said its difficult to explain these mature controversies to little children.

“It’s hard to actually figure out what to tell them. It doesn’t make sense for them. It’s too mature for them. They don’t understand and in their heads, it’s all about having fun,” said Esquivel. 

“We didn’t mean to have the movie night canceled but honestly this is a way more important issue. We’re dealing with families. We’re dealing with children. We’re dealing with communities, so if you can’t watch a movie one night on a Saturday night, I don’t think it’s a big deal,” explained Musheyev.

The protesters will be demanding justice.

“Because it’s the police, people are afraid to speak out about it, but the police are not perfect, they make mistakes. So we need to be there as a community, pointing it out and having a mechanism to hold them accountable,” said Musheyev.

Sarasota police plan to reschedule the event for a later date.

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