The image of Morrisville’s founding father being boarded up earlier Wednesday lead to questions and a flurry of social media posts as to the accuracy of the photo posted.
The image first posted around 10 a.m. and led to a number of angered responses in light of threats local and national about monuments said to have ties to racism or racist beliefs.
A Google reverse image search revealed the photos posted were authentic and not doctored as some commenters thought.
Morrisville Borough Manager Scott Mitchell confirmed the borough’s public works department was in fact at the plaza doing some work, but declined to further elaborate on what appeared to be a boarding up of the historical statute.
Mitchell plainly said that “yes, public works was at the Robert Morris Plaza” declining to further comment.
The social media controversy took off when images of Morris surrounded by wooden boarding were posted to a Morrisville based social media page.
Shortly thereafter, Morrisville residents made their way down to the beloved plaza to see for themselves what was actually going on and by the time some arrived, the boards and public works department had moved on, creating real time mystery of sorts which Mitchell put to bed.
The controversy comes in advance of the un-sanctioned protest scheduled to take place at Williamson Park on Saturday organized by a Facebook social media page called “Morrisville PA Against Hate.”
*”The demonstration led by community members on July 12 is a peaceful, family-friendly protest against racism, state sanctioned violence and hate. There will be youth and community members speaking, along with music and information on racial justice, and a sign processional of a history of racism in the US and action steps toward racial justice provided by the NAACP of Bucks County,” says a description of the event.
Mitchell said the group has yet to seek approval and permitting from the Borough for the protest as of today and adding nor has a certificate of insurance been provided or proof of porta potties being rented.
I firmly believe in the Constitutional right to assemble, Mitchell said, but when doing so on municipal owned property, there is a process that needs to take place and that has yet to happen.
Social media posts earlier this week alleged borough officials granted protest organizers a waiver, which Mitchell denied.
“If such a waiver were to be granted, Council would have to vote on it”, he said.
“There are long standing rules for any and all community based groups wanting to use the park for any event”, Mitchell said, “waivers could and would have been been considered if submitted.”
Mitchell declined to comment if there would be a heavy police presence on the day of the protest deferring to Chief of Police George McClay.
McClay currently vacationing said by e-mail he would be back in town by Saturday and if need be could work remotely.
Similar protests throughout Lower Bucks County in recent weeks have taken place without incident, however, there was a strong rejoinder in Morrisville that never materialized. A protest allegedly scheduled to cross into the borough from Trenton on Memorial Day weekend led to a show of force by law enforcement with no protest occurring.
Multiple attempts by this publication to reach organizers of the protest, have been unsuccessful, as of Wednesday evening.
Mayor David Rivella did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Editors Note: It most be noted, many of the protests, peace rallies, and walks that have taken place in Bucks County have been covered by majority white media publications and reporters of the area.
**The March Against Hate” protest is actually scheduled for July 11, however the quoted statement incorrectly states it is scheduled for July 12. LBS is aware of the error.