Chaos in D.C.: Protesters, Helicopters, and Arson as Another Night Brings More Riots
Our correspondent was downtown. Here's what he saw.
Amid riots in Washington, D.C. on Monday night, law enforcement chased protesters through the city with a low-flying helicopter, emitting sand and what appeared to be at least one flash-bang grenade as protesters tried to make it to the Capitol building.
After dispersing the demonstrations near the White House and arresting those involved for violating the 7 p.m. curfew, a few hundred people formed a crowd more than a mile north and began to walk southeast towards the Capitol building.
By the time protesters got to China民彩网官网town, police were employing unique measures to make them disperse. Along with cruisers following the protesters and trying to contain them, they used a military helicopter to fly 40 to 50 feet overhead, emitting sand and spraying it in the eyes of protesters with the propeller.
The extremely close range caused traffic cones to fly through the streets and knocked port-a-potties off balance in a work zone. Police also set up barricades on both sides of the protesters, following them from behind and using tear gas against them. At least one flash-bang grenade was used during the chase, which appeared to have come from the helicopter.
In one instance, when protesters stopped near the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the chopper hovered over their heads, not moving for several minutes. After it flew away, protesters continued marching toward the Capitol.
With the Capitol building visible, police barricades surrounded protesters and forced them to go in the opposite direction after hitting them with tear gas. As the demonstrators began to run away, police continued to hit them with tear gas from multiple angles and emit sand from the helicopter, eventually causing protesters to disperse into different directions.
During the chase, protesters caused some damage, including to the Teamsters building, which had several windows broken. Some also vandalized the Court of Appeals for Armed Forces building with graffiti that said “Fuck 12,” which means “fuck the police.”
Protests from the previous night near the White House had led to a lot of looting in the area, which included convenience store chains and small businesses. The protesters also committed arson, even setting fire to the historic St. John’s Church. President Donald Trump later urged police to be more aggressive.
Similar demonstrations have erupted nationally over the death of George Floyd, who was killed in the custody of a police officer. The officer, who is white, held his knee on the neck of Floyd, who was black, for several minutes, including after he was visibly unconscious.
Tyler Arnold is a writer based in the Washington, D.C. area. His work can be seen in the Associated Press, Business Insider, National Review, and other outlets.