Washington, DC, Police Chief Peter Newsham announced that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested 17 people Saturday night during protests in the city.
Eleven MPD officers were injured during the protests – none sustained life threatening injuries, but one is undergoing surgery today after suffering multiple compound fractures to his leg after a protester threw a rock at him, Newsham told reporters at a news conference Sunday.
Newsham said that of the 17 people arrested, eight of those lived or had some ties to DC. They were able to identify five others who were Virginia residents.
He said police expect they will be making more arrests. The department is asking private businesses to review their security footage and will ask the DC community to help identify those who were damaging property or hurting people.
Arrests are rarely made at demonstrations in DC, Newsham said.
Here's what happened last night: Newsham said that around 9 p.m., “rioters” threw incendiary devices at MPD, which he called “particularly disturbing,” and said not usually seen in demonstrations in DC. He said rioters were also looting.
There were “multiple instances of destruction of private and public property” roughly between 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. last night, including three vehicles, and a structure attached to a building under constriction, were set on fire, Newsham said.
MPD worked with other local law enforcement and federal partners last night to “manage the chaos,” Newsham said.
He called the behavior of police, “incredibly responsible, heroic, in many instances,” and added that he could “not be more proud” of the officers on the scene.
At about 3 a.m., Mayor Muriel Bowser and Newsham went downtown to look at the damage that had been done and speak to business owners.
“We always in Washington, DC, welcome peaceful protests. It's necessary in our American society but we can't have people coming into our city who are gonna destroy property. Or hurt people,” Newsham said.