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El Paso police say tear gas & bean bags were fired at protesters, 2 officers hurt, 3 arrested

UPDATE: El Paso police officials confirmed Monday that tear gas and bean bag rounds were fired into Sunday's protest crowds.

Police said two officers were injured in the protests by demonstrators who threw rocks, bottles and "projectiles" at them. Authorities did not describe the extent of the injuries, but did indicate that the attackers disappeared into the protest crowd and escaped.

A 20-year resident of the neighborhood where Memorial Park sits described the scene to ABC-7: “It made a big splat on one of the (officer's) shields and then more bottles got thrown and the cops fired the gas and they dispersed like cockroaches," Armando Cardoza recalled on Monday.

Three arrests were also made during the protests, police said, but those arrests were unrelated to the assaults on the two officers.

Some who participated in Sunday's protest questioned the need to use gas on the park crowd and accused the police of being overly aggressive.

“I did inhale gas," activist Guillermo Casimiro told ABC-7 on Monday. "I did get it on my face. People with medical supplies laid me down and poured milk on my face and sprayed my eyes with solution. We wanted to be heard but they shut us out. They wanted to shut us out so hard they had to throw gas.”

ORIGINAL REPORT: EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Police Department headquarters at 911 Raynor Street as well as Memorial Park in central El Paso were the scenes of protests Sunday evening against police brutality in the wake of the Minnesota death of George Floyd.

As it reached midnight, only a few dozen protesters remained outside the police station. Things appeared to be calm and winding down.

Nonetheless, a heavy and visible police presence remained outside of the building. In addition to EPPD officers, there were also state troopers, constables, park rangers and FBI agents as well as officers from Hudspeth County.

At Memorial Park around midnight there were no more protesters, but plenty of debris to be found littering the park grounds; police were in the process of documenting some of the debris as potential evidence.

Earlier, police fired tear gas in the park as it neared 10 p.m. to disperse a crowd that had apparently gotten rowdy; there was no word of any arrests, a police spokesman told ABC-7. Police couldn't immediately say if Antifa or other activist groups had shown up in El Paso.

Former longtime El Paso Times reporter Aaron Montes, now a city council candidate, witnessed officers in riot gear firing gas canisters.

The protests, which had started around the dinner hour when it was light out, went long after dark at both the park and police headquarters, where it was a calmer scene.

"I can't breathe," "No justice, no peace," "Black lives matter" and "George Floyd" were among the chants the crowd of thousands of protesters shouted in unison in front of the police headquarters when their rally first got underway for the evening.

As the street became packed with protesters, some took to the rooftops of nearby buildings. Officers sought to clear people gathered on the roof of the Davita Kidney Care building directly across the street from their headquarters.

Montana Avenue near the police building was closed to traffic after protesters spilled onto the road, but about 90 minutes into the protest police told demonstrators to clear the street and reopened it to traffic.

At one point, the police actually had to break up a brief altercation that took place between different factions of protesters in front of the police building.

Law enforcement helicopters could be heard flying overhead and horns honked from passing cars as some of the marchers headed to Memorial Park to stage another demonstration there.

At another point, officers in riot gear could be seen by ABC-7 crews getting into police vehicles that headed out from headquarters to Memorial Park where they deployed a short time later.

Protesters orchestrated a powerful moment when those officers first arrived at the park.

The situation started to get tense in the park at points during the demonstrations as protesters blocked police.

There were also concerns that tensions could escalate and confrontations or clashes take place.

Some officers reported being assaulted by having bottles thrown at them in a few incidents at Copper and Copia, one of the main march spots.

In another instance, a police SWAT vehicle was spray-painted by protesters.

Officers took a knee with some of those protesters to diffuse the potentially confrontational situation and keep it from getting out of hand.

There was another instance of officers taking a knee later in the night outside the police department as protesters and officers shared a musical moment.

Some protesters had left the park at dusk before things got rowdy and headed back again to the police headquarters building.

As night fell, hundreds remained outside police headquarters.

Things were boisterous there but remained mostly peaceful into the night.

Some even shared free water and pizza with their fellow protesters at the demonstration scenes.

El Paso's was the latest of many demonstrations taking place in cities across the nation sparked by the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, one of whom is now charged with his murder.

The El Paso demonstration, word of which was spread by social media, was the first protest to occur in the Sun City. The department's headquarters was struck by vandals early Saturday morning who spray-painted messages about Floyd on some walls of the building.

Saunday's protest crowd in El Paso was dominated by younger people.

The protesters gathered initially by the hundreds in the park before heading to the police headquarters.

The only other protest in the Borderland this weekend involved dozens of college students along Main Street in Las Cruces in a rally that was peaceful.

Some other protests this weekend across Texas in cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin turned confrontational and violent at times, resulting in hundreds of arrests.

Crime / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

71 Comments

    1. You hope they are smart enough K1DPR? Lol. No need to say more. Lol. Madmike and his 8th grade level thinking is not good. He will probably pull out an eraser. Lol.

  1. Antifa leads protest efforts to remove or destroy Confederate monuments of hateful history. It’s No wonder that closet Klansman Terrorist Trump is against them

    1. First of all “antifa” is not an organization. Second, the statute you keep referring to addresses only “foreign” terrorist organizations.

      1. True, but the statute only authorizes investigations of domestic organizations via Section 802 of the Patroit Act. It provides no criminal penalty. Criminal penalties under §2331 are only or currently authorized for foriegn terrorist organizations.

    2. U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a Sunday statement that the regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces of the FBI have been directed to locate and apprehend Antifa leaders.
      His statement was issued after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be declaring Antifa a domestic terrorist organization for its alleged involvement in the terrorizing of major cities after the death of George Floyd. You’ll get visitors soon, Alberto Velarde

  2. Looks like the multiple personalities of the scummy slime alberto is showing up to protest what?
    The democrat controlled cities like EL Paso going out and burning and looting what they haven’t earned? The stores and places where poor people gather to make a living or gather with their families?
    That’s what communists do people. Destroy what they don’t earn. Typical run city by the communists.

    1. El Paso hasn’t looted or burned anything nadodave. If anything we had a white supremacist come murder over 20 people back in August so back off bro. Your stupid labels won’t change a thing.

  3. We aren’t communists like you. We support the Constitution. Not hide in the sewer like you and your multiple personalities. Only thugs like you want to destroy this country and El Paso.

  4. Extremism left or right is not good for our country. All of us, Democrats and Republicans should act to fight it if we truly love this country.

    1. The Democrat Party should be declared a domestic terrorist organization. BTW – It’s the leftist extremist anarchists destroying libtard cities you dolt.

  5. THis is my real name, I don’t hide behind stupid screen names like nadodave, fero2a, real maga, and madmike. That’s cowardly. If 45 is going to designate Antifa a terrorist group, he needs to do the same to all the white nationalist groups. #paradigmshift

    1. Lol. Name one “white supremist” group not named the KKK, which is wholy owned subsidiary of the Democrat party.
      .
      Ya. None.
      .
      There are probably like 150 “white supremists” in the USA, and none anywhere near your dumbazz.

  6. So I guess this whole rona thing is over and we can open everything up I mean what’s the point right now to even worrry about social distancing or peaks in numbers? I don’t want one cop or authority to harass me for wearing a face mask in public. Where is Joy Behar telling these people they are giving up their right to treatment? This is not a Trump issue it’s a cop in Minnesota that killed someone and got arrested and should go to jail for a long a time. This isn’t equality issue………what are they yelling at cops who happen to be African American?

  7. Not hiding, just unable to join in any more. Protesting is a young person’s game, and sadly, I am no longer young. But in my day, 1964-84, I was on the front lines, protecting this country so the likes of you could run your mouth.

  8. Voice of reason… thank you.

    But it was El Paso Police Department who ran in to Walmart that dreadful day. …

    “My heart sank when I saw police in riot gear. It broke when I heard the popping from tear gas”——
    — what for you think they were going to do? Wait another opportunist Uses this relatively peaceful protest to spray paint another wall or police vehicle? Wait until fights start? Wait until looting starts around memorial park homes? Guess who we’ll be calling? 911.

  9. Guys what happened to social distancing, staying inside, wearing masks? Is EPPD going to hand out citations for these losers like they did the other batch of losers who protested the lockdown?

    1. So it’s largely meaningless and the lockdowns, stay at home orders, social distancing requirements weren’t justified is what you’re saying? Cool.

  10. Fool. I was outside on my lawn as your compadres streamed past my house, past my AWESOME “TRUMP 2020” flags on my 20′ residential flag pole to Memorial Park, then on to P.D. H.Q., on Raynor.
    .
    I brought my buddy 12guage with me, had his own chair, with two boxes of shells.
    .
    Some punks RAN THEIR MOUTHES, but none came on the property.
    .
    Mostly naive, dumb kids – but a few “tough guys.” Lol.

  11. Mostly peaceful kids – young, dumb and full of bull, but a few hardcores got into it down the block on Copper by the library.
    .
    There are still p.d. units down by “Dog Face Lying Pony Soldier” Escobar’s house, but it’s basically quiet.

  12. We can pull out your posts and see if they are in line with your employment policies. As long as you don’t work for the government you be ok.

  13. ” Thousands protest police brutality at El Paso police headquarters & Memorial Park”

    Thousands protest? B.S. KVIA and it’s leftist reporters to include Jim Parker must be dumb and blind. Can’t count. KVIA: Where Fake Leftist News Comes First.

    1. The leftist media has fueled these riots. Emboldened the anarchists. Cheering them on. In the end what did they accomplish? If KVIA Jim Parker deleted all of dumbass Alberto’s rants then he would have no leftists ranting at this crappy web site. Other local media like KTSM reported thousands but adjusted that figure to a little over one thousand. Fake news as usual.

  14. Antifa is not a foriegn terrorist organization. It is a loosely knit bunch of rabble-rousers with no centralized leadership. We have no statutes in the US Code that addresses domestic terrorism. Maybe we need one. Contact your congressional representatives and make your concerns known.

    1. USC also covers domestic terrorist organizations like the old Weather Underground, Animal Liberation Front. Within a couple of days, ANTIFA will be joining that pack of scum.

    2. U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a Sunday statement that the regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces of the FBI have been directed to locate and apprehend Antifa leaders.
      His statement was issued after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be declaring Antifa a domestic terrorist organization for its alleged involvement in the terrorizing of major cities after the death of George Floyd.

  15. The peanut gallery occupied by those nutty Republikklans like asshole Al Val and meth-head Mad Mike, to name a few who happen to be domestic terrorist, Patrick Crusius sympathizers. EL PASO STRONG tho 🏋️💪

  16. ANTIFA posted in Twitter that they are going into the suburbs and take what is theirs. Also reportedly driving around suburban areas, taking photos of houses with a marked unit in the driveway.

  17. If your statement is correct then it’s time Madmike: So called antifas are bringing it to you! No more trash talking or sideline cheerleaders. Go get em madmike!!!!! Mucho macho Madmike and his 5 good balls stayed up all night. Lol.

  18. Evidently red flag laws have been found constitutional in most all of the Circuits. When the issue has been presented, it has been found constitutional every time. All one needs to know they are necessary here in Texas how to get to this blog and read the comments of the gun toters.

    1. Moot issue in Texas moron. No red flag laws. But red flag laws include morons like you who threaten people with a baseball bat or other weapons not just guns. Such a moron.

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