Black Lives Matter militants — angry over video they say shows South Carolłna police using excessive force while arresting two black men — set fires Wednesday night outside the Rock Hill Police Department and surrounded a lone officer who was trying to protect arriving firefighters.
What are the details?
WCNC-TV reporter Hunter Sáenz was at the protest outside the police station and posted video of fires being set. He noted that a woman on a loudspeaker told fellow protesters to block the street so firefighters couldn't get in if they responded.
Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @Hunt_Saenz
Soon a lone police officer arrived, exited his patrol car to protect arriving firefighters — and he was quickly surrounded by a mob of about 50 angry protesters.
One of them threw what appeared to be a water bottle at the officer, hitting him in the chest or shoulder — although Saenz said it appeared to be a rock:
A lone officer drove in near protesters to escort firefighters to put out the fire. Things got heated. At one point… https://t.co/gSmkaGm9nc— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunter Sáenz)1624505602.0
WCNC-TV said Rock Hill Police Department just before 11 p.m. declared the protest an unlawful assembly and called for people to disperse. The station added that protesters gathered near a line of SWAT officers in riot gear at 11:38 p.m.; protesters later were heard shouting, "No justice, no peace."
Around 12:20 a.m., a protest leader on a megaphone told other protesters to go home and plan to return later Thursday, WCNC said, adding that protesters began leaving.
What were the arrests all about?
Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, police pulled over a car for making an illegal turn and changing lanes unlawfully, the station said. The driver, Ricky Roderick Price, was heard talking on his cellphone to his brother, Travis Price, as officers approached the vehicle, WCNC said.
Police said based on Ricky Price's previous interactions with officers, a K-9 was called for a vehicle sniff, the station said. Officers during their search found two bags of marijuana hidden in the driver's door panel and a 9 mm pistol in the back of the vehicle, WCNC said., after which Ricky Price was placed under arrest and handcuffed.
Then Travis Price showed up, approached officers, tried to take his brother's belongings into his possession, and was told to move back, police told the station.
Police said Travis Price used his body to bump officers backward and continued to try to get near his brother and reach for his belongings, WCNC reported.
More from the station:
At that time, Travis was told he was under arrest for interfering, and physically contacting officers and while officers attempted to put Travis in custody, he allegedly shoved officers and refused to comply with orders to place his hands behind his back. At that point, officers pushed Travis against a large tank and told him to put his hands behind his back. As officers attempted to gain control of Travis, both officers and Travis went to the ground.
At the same time, as other officers collected jewelry from Ricky, he requested his jewelry items be passed to someone else on the scene. According to officers, as they worked to remove his handcuffs in order to remove his jewelry, Ricky attempted to flee and threw several punches; one of those punches struck an officer.
The police department said the K-9 ... was then "deployed as a display of force to gain compliance." As the handler maintained control of the K-9, Ricky continued to attempt to escape from officers, according to the release.
As the struggle ensued and officers continued to gain control of Ricky, Ricky and several officers fell to the ground of the gas station parking lot. While on the ground, one officer delivered several punches to Ricky's upper thigh. Police said the officer was aiming for the Common Peroneal Nerve to gain compliance. According to officers, the punches had no effect and Ricky "continued to resist." The officer then punched Ricky again, this time in the nose, causing him to bleed.
Both men were then taken into custody, WCNC said, which added that while removing Ricky Price from the vehicle, officers found a Crown Royal bag where he was seated that contained crack cocaine .
Travis Price was taken to jail on a hindering police charge, the station said, adding that Ricky Price was charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, carrying a pistol unlawfully, unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent offense, and resisting arrest.
Police told WCNC that officers didn't deploy any weapons and that the K-9 didn't bite either suspect — but they are conducted an internal review of the incident.