“It’s over. Get out of here.”
“I’m with the press.“
“I don’t care who you’re with. You’re done.”
“I’m with the press.”
“You’re done. Beat it.“
“I’m with the press. I’m going to do my job.“
“I don’t care. Get out of here.”
For over an hour it an uneventful, if provocative protest. Protesters, mostly young people, marched and chanted through the streets of Providence in reaction to the lack of a grand jury indictment in the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. The march began and ended in Dexter Park in Providence, having marched through neighborhoods and to Federal Hill. Protesters were closely followed and monitored by the Providence Police and the Rhode Island State Police for most of the march.
On the return to Dexter Park protesters noticed a Rhode Island State Police car and began to block the block and surround around it, chanting “All Cops Are Bastards”. Within seconds the area was swarming with police vehicles. Though it is difficult to see what is happening, police officers began arresting protesters, and found themselves surrounded by protesters as they made the arrests.
A police officer began swinging his club at protesters telling them to, “Back off” and “Get the fuck out of here.” An officer threatened the protesters with pepper spray or some other kind of chemical agent, and two protesters were cuffed on the ground as more police arrived.
Then, as can be seen at round the three minute mark in the first video below, a police officer began spraying the crowd with pepper spray, a canister in both hands. The officer with the pepper spray appears to be the same officer who sprayed protesters who marched onto a Route 95 on ramp last week.
As protesters retreated and the situation became somewhat under police control, UpriseRI reporter Will James, standing on the sidewalk and the only media present, was approached by a police officer who told him, “It’s over. Get out of here.”
“I’m with the press,” said James.
“I don’t care who you’re with. You’re done,” said the officer.
“I’m with the press,” repeated James.
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“You’re done,” said the officer. “Beat it.”
“I’m with the press. I’m going to do my job.”
“I don’t care. Get out of here,” said the officer.
Here’s the video from Will James:
As protesters kept their distance, the police continued at the scene of the arrests. There were some provocative moves made by both sides but no further violence or arrests. After about ten minutes both police and protesters had mostly cleared the area.
Here is the full live stream of the entire protest: