After a relatively peaceful day of protests Saturday, the Detroit Police Department declared an increasingly agitated and violent crowd of roughly 250 people an unlawful assembly when they refused to leave the downtown Detroit area on the second night of unrest following the controversial death of George Floyd.
A WDIV Local 4 reporter Larry Spruill caught the moment on video when police moved in to forcibly disperse the gathered protesters shortly after 11pm.
The recording captured the police warning the crowd, “This is Lt. Coles with the Detroit Police Department. This has been declared an unlawful assembly. If you do not leave the premises, you will be subject to arrest and exposure to chemical munitions.”
Several of the protestors were taken into custody.
A short time later, Police Chief James Craig gave recap of the day’s events leading up to the forced dispersal of the crowd:
Once again, our officers showed extreme patience.
It started out as a civil protest – very peaceful, orderly. We supported that.
At some point, they decided they wanted to go on a walking tour of the area. In fact, decided to take over a freeway.
Fortunately we had that section of the freeway shut down, because we certainly didn’t want to put anybody in harm’s way.
After that they decided to leave the freeway and return, coming towards headquarters. They stopped near Hart Plaza.
We could tell they were getting somewhat agitated. We just knew.
And so they decided to leave that location where they proceeded to head back here to headquarters. We did not want them to come too close to our building for obvious reasons, and that’s when the protesters became violent.
They began to throw projectiles – rocks, M-80 grenades at officers – and so we learned that many of them came with ice chests which had a number of bricks.
So it became a violent situation at that point. We’re talking roughly 250 – a much smaller group than we saw yesterday, but certialy at this point somewhat more agitated.
We did give the order to deploy gas and non lethal munitions – very effective, and it did disperse the group.
So right now, we’re getting feedback that it is dispersed, but not totally. But again, very patient, officers were professional all night.
WATCH: Detroit Police Chief James Craig addressed the media after the 2nd night of protests in Downtown Detroit: pic.twitter.com/Q5pBD1lryn
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) May 31, 2020
Chief Craig assured reporters that the Department will be “fully prepared” for additional demonstrations Sunday.
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Photo “Detroit Protests George Floyd Death” by Nat M. Zorach.