WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Nineteen people were arrested after a peaceful protest in Worcester in response to the death of George Floyd turned violent as tensions escalated on Monday night.
Officers fired flashbangs into a “violent and chaotic” crowd of about 50 to 70 people as some demonstrators grew unruly and began blocking traffic and throwing glass bottles at police cruisers in the area of Portland and Federal streets, according to the Worcester Police Department.
Officers with megaphones repeatedly ordered the crowd to disperse but rioters began throwing objects at them, police said.
One officer was said to have been struck in the head with a piece of concrete and others were struck with rocks. Police said individuals then started shooting fireworks and Roman candles at the officers, striking one in the chest, causing burns to his skin.
Police said the neighborhood was filled with smoke from fires that were intentionally set by members of the crowd. A cruiser also went up in flames after being hit with a Roman candle and others were damaged.
Several buildings were vandalized and numerous cars drove at the officers assembled in the street, according to police. Dumpsters were said to be lit on fire and pushed toward officers in an attempt to injure them.
Officers later discovered 18-year-old Vincent Eovarious on the roof of Pennywise Market, armed with several Molotov cocktails, police said. He was later talked into surrendering.
About 90 minutes after the chaos broke out, police said officers used “less-lethal” measures, including
smoke grenades and pepperball rounds to disperse the crowd and make arrests.
“Last night, I was there on Worcester Common, along with the police chief and thousands of other
people, outraged by what we saw happen to George Floyd in Minneapolis. We stood in solidarity
and listened as speakers shared their anger, their frustration, and their pain. Everyone was gathered
peacefully to stand up and speak out,” Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said. “Unfortunately, after that protest, there was a small group not looking to share outrage about George Floyd, but bent on destruction and chaos.”
The names of those who were arrested and the charges they are facing are as follows:
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