RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Officials say several officers were injured while trying to stop protesters from pulling down Confederate statues at a monument on State Capitol grounds Friday night.
Ropes were tied around two smaller statues that are part of the monument that includes a larger statue at the top. The monument is located at the intersection of Salisbury and Hillsborough streets.
Around 7:30 p.m., several people tried to pull down the smaller statues using ropes but officers at the scene fought with the protesters to stop them.
“In the initial engagement, several officers received injuries,” Pamela Walker, spokeswoman for the North Carlina Department of Public Safety said in a news release.
The injuries include one officer who suffered a fractured wrist, another who had cuts to the hand and another had to have eyes flushed due to an unknown liquid being thrown in the officer’s face, Walker said.
“After the initial attempt to remove the statue was prevented and de-escalated by law enforcement, (Roger) Chief Hawley says officers did remain on the grounds to continue maintaining public safety,” Walker said, referring to the chief of North Carolina State Capitol Police.
By 8 p.m., the crowd was still at the scene, but more officers appeared at the scene. Police had climbed on the monument and were trying to take down the ropes around 8:15 p.m.
However, Walker said a decision was made later not to stop the crowd from pulling down the statues, one dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.
“After dark, the crowds grew and the situation escalated again when some individuals returned a second time to violently remove the statue. In working to strategically balance the public’s safety and the safety of the officers, the chief determined it was best to not re-engage on the statue,” Walker said in the release.
Just after 9 p.m., protesters again climbed the statues, put a strap around each, and pulled them down. Both were taken down within a few minutes of each other.
One person was arrested and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, trespassing, unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer, Walker said.
There were no serious injuries.
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