Chaos erupted in downtown Burlington Thursday night after police tried to clear City Hall Park's tent city.
Scuffles erupted with dozens of protestors when officers tried to cordon off the park, to investigate a deadly shooting. A 35-year-old Occupy Vermont demonstrator was shot inside a tent and died at the hospital. Police believe the shot was self inflicted. Police arrested demonstrator, Haley Mason during the scuffles, but Mayor Bob Kiss told police to release her.
"I was walking through, didn't cross the police line, I certainly never crossed any of the tape and two officers, the first thing that they said is that I was under arrest and then one of them asked me if I wanted to be tazed," says Mason.
Kiss later admitted he did not know why Mason was arrested. Channel 3's Keith McGilvery asked Mayor Kiss if releasing someone for being arrested without knowing the details was the right move. Kiss responded by saying, "I'm not going to answer that question."
McGilvery asked Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling if it was standard operating procedure for the mayor to have somebody released from police custody. "I don't know that is what happened, that wouldn't be normal, but we're certainly not operating in normal circumstances right now," said Schirling.
City Hall Park is now closed to demonstrators and camping. Police and the mayor are reviewing whether the tent city will be allowed there again.
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