What to Know
- Thirty-seven people were arrested for rioting and four were arrested for assault on a police officer
- Police cordoned off a large section of Adams Morgan for hours late Aug. 13 and early Aug. 14
- According to multiple accounts, the protest began peacefully with about 50 people in Meridian Hill Park, commonly known as Malcolm X Park
The Metropolitan Police Department launched an internal investigation into the mass arrests at a protest last week in Adams Morgan.
"We are very accustomed to First Amendment walks, spontaneous ones," Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue said Monday. "We had one over the weekend without incident. This was not that. This was a group that seemed to police to be intent to set things on fire and destroy things.”
Thirty-seven people were arrested for rioting and four were arrested for assault on a police officer, Donahue said.
“We weren’t responding to a peaceful protest,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday. “We were responding to people who were being unpeaceful in protesting and demonstrating rioting behavior, and so that behavior will not be tolerated.”
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Police cordoned off a large section of Adams Morgan for hours late Aug. 13 and early Aug. 14 and arrested 41 people. Two officers were injured.
A video shot by a protester shows Metropolitan Police Department officers pinning a man to the ground, and a man told News4 that officers used pepper spray on him.
Many of those arrested told News4 they were released Aug. 14 without being charged.
According to multiple accounts, the protest began peacefully with about 50 people in Meridian Hill Park, commonly known as Malcolm X Park. The group headed toward the Third District police station in the 1600 block of V Street NW and then to 18th and Willard streets NW.
Protesters told News4 they were speaking out against three 2018 confrontations with officers that resulted in men’s deaths. Police released body camera footage last week after the deaths of Marqueese Alston, Jeffrey Price and D’Quan Young.
Officers formed a perimeter around the protesters using a tactic called kettling while an area stretching as far south as Dupont Circle, lined with bars and restaurants, was shut down.
News4 footage shows officers standing behind police tape. Officers started putting protesters in handcuffs at about 12:30 a.m. Friday and took them away in vans.
“Let them go,” others chanted.
A video shot by a protester shows officers pinning a man to the ground.
“They got their knee on him,” a woman can be heard saying as several people stand in place with their cellphones up.
In another tweet, police said there's a difference “between peaceful protestors & individuals destroying property or setting fires.”
Police say they recovered knives, fireworks and “chemical irritants” from the protesters and offenses that occurred included arson and property destruction.
D.C. Council member Charles Allen, chairman of the judiciary committee, questioned charging so many people with rioting.
“I think there are some real concerns about what our felony rioting provisions look like and how they end up getting applied, especially if there is a case where it’s getting applied where there is a peaceful protest," he said Aug. 14 on WAMU.