Home News Why Huntsville Police Chief says use of pressure was justified throughout June 2020 protests
News - April 22, 2021

Why Huntsville Police Chief says use of pressure was justified throughout June 2020 protests



HUNTSVILLE, Ala – In June of 2020, within the wake of George Floyd’s demise, two protests in Huntsville ended with a conflict between the group and police. When Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray briefed the town council a couple of weeks after the occasions, he mentioned regulation enforcement actions the nights of June 1st and June third had been justified. 

“However blocking the roads previous darkish, shutting companies in downtown, simply not one thing we have to proceed to tolerate within the ambiance, the Alabama ambiance, the nationwide ambiance.”

Chief Mark McMurray

McMurray provided an extended, difficult protection of the regulation enforcement actions within the assembly that lasted greater than three hours. Through the protests, CS fuel, pepper spray, and bean bag rounds had been shot on the crowd gathered downtown.

Earlier than the protests, he says regulation enforcement monitored conversations on social media and weighed unfounded threats referred to as into police.

He additionally cited two dozen automobiles parked downtown with out-of-state license plates, many from Tennessee and Georgia.

The chief referred to as the conflict between police and protesters ‘secondary occasions’ after the deliberate protests.

“Spinoff group that appears to make the most of the gathering of people that had been emotional for a function,” mentioned Chief Mark McMurray.

Whereas he says the Antifa group, Antifa is brief for anti-fascist, shouldn’t be current in Huntsville, the chief sought to elucidate how Antifa may have been concerned in what occurred.

He outlined social media conversations forward of the protests between Huntsville residents police recognized as Antifa sympathizers. 

“Oh, and the subsequent man says ‘throw glue additionally, after which throw glitter, and tons of glitter,’” the chief mentioned.

One of many individuals the chief highlighted in his report was a Huntsville man who was interviewed by AL.com after the briefing. The stay-at-home dad and author denies the declare he’s an Antifa sympathizer and says he had not attended native protests.

The chief defined 13 totally different roles Antifa members play throughout protests, saying individuals may very well be serving to Antifa throughout protests with out their data, explaining phrases like ‘vary solider’ and ‘medics’.

“These individuals who had been throwing bottles at us, they’re going to get offended I name them a ‘vary solider’, however to Antifa, as a result of that’s what they had been as a result of that’s how they set up these occasions. They didn’t imply to be a part of Antifa, they don’t wish to be a part of Antifa. They had been easy bystanders, they obtained wrapped up within the minute, grow to be a protester and now they’re assaulting Huntsville cops,” he defined. “The whole lot about Antifa was right here on the bottom.”

Police mentioned they recovered a complete of seven firearms over the course of the 4 protests. In addition they eliminated two individuals with firearms throughout protests. They reportedly discovered a person strolling round downtown with a rifle after protests the night time of June third. 24 individuals had been arrested that night time and one retailer window was broken.

Questions from the general public had been learn by council president Devyn Keith on the finish of the presentation.

“If there have been violent, exterior agitators on the occasion, why had been all of the arrests Madison County residents? Do the mayor and chief of police significantly suppose we consider out-of-state anarchists got here in and brought about this violence after which magically escaped?”

Chief McMurray answered, “These should not violent agitators we put in jail that night time, okay? They had been younger individuals, disorderly conduct, blocking the street two hours into the occasion.” 

Councilmember Frances Akridge introduced up the thought of illegal meeting. She requested how police may know if there was an intent to riot. McMurray pointed to protests in Birmingham that he mentioned included hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in property injury and city-wide curfews.

“However blocking the roads previous darkish, shutting companies in downtown, simply not one thing we have to proceed to tolerate within the ambiance, the Alabama ambiance, the nationwide ambiance,” McMurray mentioned.

In Chief McMurray’s concluding remarks he mentioned the police division needs to enhance its advanced relationship with the group.  He additionally denounced the demise of George Floyd. He mentioned the video of Floyd’s demise was arduous to observe and he reminded the general public that kind of restraint shouldn’t be utilized by Huntsville police.



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