Communication recordings offer insight into how Fayetteville officers responded to protests, Market House arson

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Radio traffic from the night the Market House in Fayetteville was set on fire after protests turned violent give insight into what the evening was like for police officers.

Black Lives Matter protests were peaceful early on, but devolved as the historic building being set on fire. Looting and gunshots followed throughout the night.

Here is what some of the officers said as they communicated with each other during that night:

“Shots fired.”

“We’ve got active gunfire out here.”

“I can’t tell the direction, but sounds like gunfire.”

“They’re busting windows at City Hall now.” 

Fayetteville police were on the ground, but did not step in for several hours.

Officers in the command center were watching security cameras showing the riot and communicating with officers on the ground.

“Stand by, stay safe, at this time you’re going to see smoke, the Market House is on fire.”

“I have reports of a person on fire.”

The man who was set on fire has since been arrested.

As the night went on, officers blocked off vehicle traffic headed to the Market House, but they were told not to take any enforcement action against pedestrians.

“Encourage them not to go downtown, but take no enforcement action.”

“When you’re blocking this traffic, make sure you stand behind your vehicles. Stay safe.”

The Civil Emergency Response Unit was dispatched to help with crowd control.

“Watch our six, make sure we don’t have anybody coming up behind us. If somebody comes up behind us, let us know so we can deal with it.”

“Hold the line, armor is coming. Armored vehicles are coming, hold the line.”

Police read several required proclamations before using smoke and tear gas on the crowd.

“They’ve been given two proclamations and all that did was make them stand closer. Alright, 10-4, move forward. Alright, we are moving the crowd, they’re backing up.”

“Units at the Market House, you need to make sure you have on your protective mask at this time.”

Officers were reminded throughout the night to stay calm, maintain their composure, and keep everyone safe.

“Make sure you have cover behind your vehicle. These cars are leaving and they’re angry, shouting all kinds of things, so make sure you’re having cover behind your vehicle.”

“Please don’t lose your concentration. Keep that 360. Pay attention to what we’re doing.”

“All units on scene you guys are doing a great job. Stay professional.”

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