WASHINGTON — People set fires, ignited fireworks, threw Molotov cocktails and smoke grenades at police officers during a tense confrontation at demonstrations in the overnight hours Wednesday near Black Lives Matter Plaza, D.C. police said in a just released incident report.
Several people were arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, felony rioting, burglary, vandalism and threats to do bodily harm.
A D.C. police officer was injured during the encounter with demonstrators.
An incident report obtained by WUSA9 said around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, while MPD officers were arresting two people linked to a reported burglary at the St. Regis Hotel on 16th Street Northwest, a crowd formed and became "riotous." Police say that crowd threw water bottles and other items at the officers.
MPD's Civil Disturbance Unit was called to the scene and pushed the protesters on I Street Northwest back to 15th and I Streets. The report said a person threw a Molotov cocktail in the direction of the officers.
Police said officers deployed stinger balls and OC spray at demonstrators to disperse the crowd.
"MPD will always protect the rights of those engaged in peaceful First Amendment assemblies, however, those who engage in criminal and harmful behavior will be held accountable," MPD said in a statement.
Officers deployed crowd control munitions causing the protesters to move east on I Street, the report said. On the corner of 15th and I Streets, some protesters tried to ignite a second trash can.
In retaliation, officers deployed another round of crowd control munitions causing the protesters to continue moving East on I Street. The report said several protesters began pushing dumpsters toward I Street.
MPD officers said they saw an individual carrying and igniting at least two possible Molotov cocktails causing a dumpster to set fire, the report said. Police said the person also attempted to ignite containers with a black cigarette lighter but was unable to and fled into Franklin Park towards K Street Northwest.
Officers later arrested the person for arson.
Four suspected Molotov cocktails were found in the dumpster ignited by the individual, the report said.
Police fenced the area outside of St. John's Episcopal Church near Black Lives Matter Plaza after clashes with protesters in the area on Wednesday.
A small group of protesters also marched toward the highway Wednesday evening, advocating for racial justice. And suspected protests caused D.C. police to shut down several roads, ramps and entrances near I-395 approaching the 3rd street tunnel around 8 p.m.
Other protesters showed up at DC Councilmember Charles Allen's house and chanted for him to wake up, while also banging on pots and pans. Traffic was impacted in this area of the city too.