ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Video posted by a volunteer shows supplies at a medic tent being destroyed by police officers in North Carolina at a protest on June 2 in the wake of the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police.
Photo journalist Angie Wilhelm posted a photo on Twitter of one of the Asheville officers emptying out a case of water bottles. “Asheville Police surround a medic station created by protesters as they stab water bottles with knives and tip over tables of medical supplies and food,” wrote Wilhelm.
Gillian Maurer was volunteering at the medic tent and filmed a series a videos that showed the aftermath of the damage done to the supplies by the police officers.
Maurer told Storyful that she and the other volunteer medics were told by police they were allowed to stay within the area of the tent after an 8 p.m. curfew was scheduled to go into place. But shortly after curfew began, Maurer said police trapped her and other volunteer medics and began pouring out water bottles and destroying their medical supplies.
“They began breaking things, they began physically harassing people. One shoved me against a wall, as others surrounded me and were pushing in on me/hitting me with shields,” Maurer wrote in a Facebook post. “These riot cops were stabbing water and saline, so that it was contaminated by their tear gas and could not be used, along with destroying other medical supplies we had been arranging.”
Asheville Police Chief David Zack issued a statement in a video posted to YouTube in which he defended the actions of his officers, saying, “The Asheville Police Department (APD) would always prefer confiscation over destruction.”
Zack claimed that water bottles in particular had been used as projectile objects to throw at protesters and law enforcement.
According to Zack, the supply station that was destroyed was “not permitted by the City of Asheville and was located on private property, without the permission of the property owner.”
Police continue to receive criticism for tactics used against demonstrators in protests that have erupted across the United States since the death of Floyd on May 25.
As protests grip the nation, officers have doused crowds with pepper spray, struck protesters with batons, steered police cars into throngs, shoved demonstrators and screamed curses. Some police action has been directed against people smashing windows, breaking into stores and burning cars, but many find other instances more difficult to understand.
In Los Angeles, disturbing videos emerged which appear to show officers with the Los Angeles Police Department striking peaceful protesters with batons.
One of the people who posted a video of the confrontation was actor Matt McGorry from the television series "How to Get Away With Murder.“
"More police brutality from the @BLMLA @WeBldPwr protest yesterday where cops starting swinging batons and shooting projectiles at people simply standing there with there hands up," he said in a Tweet, referring to the organization's Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and BLD PWR.
According to the LAPD statement, "We are aware of individuals who have posted videos online and on social media depicting encounters with the police, that they believe constitutes excessive force or misconduct during these demonstrations.''
In New York, Video of a police officer appearing to shove an elderly protester who falls and cracks his head in Buffalo has drawn widespread condemnation.
Video from WFBO showed a Buffalo police officer appearing to push the 75-year-old man who walked up to police clearing Niagara Square around the 8 p.m. curfew Thursday. The man falls straight backward and hits his head on the pavement, with blood leaking out as officers walk past.
The video quickly went viral on social media, spurring outrage. Buffalo police initially said in a statement that a person “was injured when he tripped & fell,” WIVB-TV reported, but Capt. Jeff Rinaldo later told the TV station that an internal affairs investigation was opened. The police commissioner subsequently suspended two police officers without pay, Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement.
The mayor of the western New York city, who expressed he was “deeply disturbed” by the video, said the unidentified man was in “stable but serious" condition at a hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported in Los Angeles.