SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: VIDEO: San Antonio police chief responds to protest video exchange involving officers
A protest turned into chaos and confusion on Tuesday night after shots were heard as demonstrators and San Antonio police officers faced off near Alamo Plaza.
A San Antonio resident, who asked to be identified as Ty, shared video of the incident with KSAT, which can be seen above.
He was part of a large group of protesters who marched through downtown for the fourth day in a row to protest racial inequality and the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The demonstrations were largely peaceful throughout the day on Tuesday.
Ty said as they made their way to Alamo Plaza, the group continued to chant and march before they came to a stop in front of a line of officers who were wearing riot gear and brandishing batons.
In the video, Ty’s friend could be seen telling demonstrators to put up their hands.
Ty’s friend then told the group to let officers know they were “not there for violence” immediately before a shot is heard.
Ty told KSAT he dropped his phone as he and the group started to run in the opposite direction.
He said some people started to walk back and saw law enforcement officers approaching them.
Ty said officers continued to shoot what appeared to be black rubber or pepper bullets in their direction and deploy tear gas.
Just after 11 p.m., SAPD’s official Twitter media account tweeted the following:
“Trying to disperse unruly crowds causing damage. Using pepper balls, smoke, wooden, and rubber projectiles. These hit the ground and impact the lower extremities. This done only after officers attacked with glass bottles. Media is not the target, those causing damage are.”
Reporters at the scene said it did not appear officers were provoked and no glass bottles were seen being thrown in their direction.
The San Antonio Police Department has not released an official statement on the events of the evening.
Ty said protesters were several feet away from officers when the first shots were fired. He said he did not see anyone in the group of demonstrators with weapons or anyone causing any damage at that point.
Late Tuesday night, Mayor Ron Nirenberg tweeted that he was inquiring about projectiles that were used by police on protesters and media members.
Ty said he was shot twice and felt tear gas on his skin and throat. He was wearing goggles when gas was deployed on the streets.
He said a local bar owner pulled him into the establishment and put ice where he was shot and gave him milk to put on his skin.
“I was just in shock and disbelief what was going, at a loss for words,” he said. “There were no reckless people who were trying to damage stuff. I sat in my car a good 20 minutes after to try and think what we did wrong.”
The protest resulted in at least eight arrests. Six teenagers and a man in his 20s were arrested. SAPD officials confirmed Wednesday morning that an eighth person, a 27-year-old woman, was arrested for standing in a roadway.
The majority of the people taken into custody by San Antonio police were booked on charges related to evading arrest, according to booking records.