Editor’s note: Watch previously aired video above for more on the vandalism at the church that occurred on March 26.
CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — Law enforcement officials on Thursday issued a recommendation to cancel a weekend drag show event involving children due to potential violence.
The Community Church of Chesterland is planning to host a sold-out, drag show brunch on Saturday, April 1 at a restaurant in Chardon Square, Element 41, for anyone 18 years of age or older. An afternoon drag story hour, held at the Community Church of Chesterland and open to children, is scheduled to follow the brunch.
The Chester Township Police Department, Chardon Police Department and Geauga County Sheriff’s Office are monitoring intelligence reports and social media chatter related to the Drag Show Brunch and Story Hour, according to a release from police.
“In order to protect all involved, the children attending, and the residents of Chester Township law enforcement officials have made an official recommendation to the event organizer and the Community Church of Chesterland to cancel this event,” the release says.
Police say there is a “realistic threat that organized protests and counter-protests could result in violence.”
“It is important to note that the ‘Story Hour’ event being held in Chester Township is focused on children and there will be children present at the church,” the release says. “Additionally there are other family friendly events being held Chester Township on April 1.”
The church on Sunday said it was vandalized after Molotov cocktails were thrown onto the property destroying its sign and leaving minimal damage to the church, which was unoccupied at the time. Also, a sign that usually hangs in the front portion of the church was smashed with a sledgehammer. No injuries were reported.
“Despite the minimal damage, the church is taking extraordinary security precautions ahead of the planned protest scheduled for April 1 and services will resume as scheduled,” the church said.
Organizers say they have hired security for their events.
If event organizers decide to continue with the plans for the drag show event, police say they are asking and encouraging event attendees, protesters and counter-protesters to act peacefully and not endanger the lives of others. Failure to do so will result in legal consequences, the release says.