Protesters ‘jumped on’ cops in NC tourist spot: Police

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Six people were arrested after confrontations between protesters and police in a North Carolina tourist spot, officials say. Photo by Getty Images

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Six people were arrested after confrontations between protesters and police in a North Carolina tourist spot, officials say.

Asheville police responded to a report of protesters blocking the entrance and smashing windows at the Renaissance Hotel on Saturday, the department said in a Twitter post.

Demonstrators started to march down the street and surrounded a police vehicle, police said. After police told them to move, protesters allegedly “jumped on top of” arresting officers and assaulted them, according to officials.

Four officers had “minor injuries,” officials said, and six demonstrators faced charges.

Police on Sunday tweeted that they understand people have the right to assemble but said officers would arrest people who broke laws. The same night, the department shared that message with protest organizers and made five arrests related to blocking traffic, according to Asheville police.

The reported incidents came after the actions of Asheville police sparked controversy in June.

Video from that incident shows officers stomping on and slashing open plastic water bottles that were part of a medical aid station for downtown protesters, McClatchy News previously reported.

David Zack, police chief, said at the time that his department was searching for explosives and tried to get rid of objects that could be thrown at officials. But some criticized the actions, saying the water and other destroyed supplies could have been used to help protesters.

The demonstrators had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. That officer and three others were fired and faced criminal charges.

Across the country, Floyd’s death sparked calls for an end to police brutality and racism.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.