Under certain conditions, Oil City Council on Thursday granted a permit for the use of Justus Park for a demonstration by a loosely-knit group concerned about the circumstances and subsequent investigation surrounding the shooting death by Oil City Police of a Central Avenue woman during their response to a reported disturbance at the woman’s residence last week.
Unlike Monday evening’s march on Oil City Hall by more than one hundred people, the Justus Park event would reportedly include more than sign-carrying protestors. Organizers plan to schedule guest speakers and encourage a dialogue about the incident and the investigation. No date has been announced for the rally.
In agreeing to allow the event, City Council insisted that security and cleanup details be addressed, and that the demonstration be held during the day.
Three Oil City Police Department officers are currently on administrative duty pending an investigation which is being conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Venango County District Attorney’s office. The officers were the responders to an incident on the 400-block of Central Avenue around 9:00 PM on the evening of July 16 at the home of 68 year-old Marilyn Peterson. The woman was shot in the right side, and died from the gunshot wound. The Oil City officers reportedly say that a shot was fired when the woman threatened them and herself with a knife. Peterson was legally blind, physically handicapped, and had reportedly suffered from mental issues for several years.