HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Hundreds of people were at Big Spring Park Wednesday evening to protest the use of police force following the death of George Floyd.
The protest remained peaceful throughout the evening. However, at 8 p.m., police deployed riot gas after it ended when the crowd wouldn’t disperse. Pictures and videos circulating on social media show a handful of protesters and at least one officer with minor injuries.
A police spokesman said more than 20 people were detained. Thursday morning, police confirmed one person arrested for possession of a firearm at a demonstration, 19 arrests for disorderly conduct, and three arrests for receiving stolen property. Police say those charges stem from fire extinguishers being stolen from a parking deck on Clinton Avenue.
A protester identifying herself only as Madison told WAFF that the protest was peaceful and claims police escalated the situation just before 8 p.m. “There was nothing violent to occur, we knelt, we chanted, we did everything we had to.” Videos on social media show at least two incidents of protesters throwing items towards police after the gas had been deployed and they moved to clear the streets.
Before the scene escalated in the evening, several members of the NAACP spoke when the protest first started. They’re demanding statewide changes in the way police use force. Not only are they protesting for George Floyd, but they’re also encouraging law enforcement to change the way they use force.
The NAACP sent a list of 10 demands to law enforcement agencies this week. See the entire list here.
WARNING; This live video contains strong language