Community leaders tipped off about possible violence at Juneteenth festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Queen City’s Juneteenth Festival kicks of Saturday at MLK Park.

Officials are expecting tens of thousands of people at the two day event. It’s the third largest celebration of its kind in the world, recognizing the end of slavery in the U.S.

Just days before the event, community leaders received a tip on Facebook about the chance of violence at the event.

“There are a couple young, very young gang members, or want to be gang members, groups or crews, that were probably plotting something and to use that as an arena to set things of,” said Pastor James Giles, Back to Basics Ministries.

As a precaution, there will be at least 50 Peacemakers and Snug members on hand at the festival. They will be setting up a perimeter in the park and taking extra measures to keep the event family friendly.

Giles says they will not tell anyone they can’t come to the event, but they will have people escorted out by police if anyone or group acts out.

In 2006, there was a shooting at the festival, but no one was hurt.

For the last several years, police say the event has been very peaceful.

Buffalo Police will have a safety plan in place to keep everyone safe.

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