WASHINGTON D.C.— On Thursday, August 13, Washington D.C. police surrounded a crowd of protesters in the Adams Morgan Neighborhood, arresting 41 people. Those arrested were in their 20s and 30s. Thirty-eight of the fourty-one arrested faced charges of felony rioting, while three were accused of assaulting a police officer. Many of those arrested were released Friday without facing charges.
This group of about 50 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered around 10 p.m. in Meridian Hill Park to march through the neighborhood and protest outside of the Third District Police Station. The protesters told News4 that they were demonstrating because of three 2018 incidents of police officers killing men. Last week, D.C police released body camera footage of these incidents of police brutality.
By 11 p.m., D.C. police arrived at the 1900 block of 18th Street Northwest near the corner of Willard Street Northwest as the demonstrations flared up. Police used a tactic called kettling to form a perimeter around the protesters and block streets in several directions. D.C. Fire and EMS also had to arrive to the situation to put out two outside fires believed to have been started by the protesters.
Despite bystanders telling police to let the protesters go, police handcuffed and arrested the protesters around 12 p.m. Josh Evens, a bystander at the scene, told WTOP that police pepper-sprayed some of the protesters. A fellow protester’s video shows D.C. police pinning a man to the ground. Two D.C. police officers suffered non-life threatening injuries.
In response to what happened last night, the D.C. Police Department tweeted, “There is a difference between peaceful protestors & individuals destroying property or setting fires. Yes, MPD did make numerous arrests last night but only of those that were engaged in rioting behaviors.”
Authorities are still investigating as it remains unclear what led Thursday’s demonstration to escalate. The police and the office of D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to answer questions about the incident.