The fallout from a fiery clash between protesters at the Statehouse
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A call for civility from the Capitol Police chief after an angry confrontation between groups on the Vermont Statehouse lawn over the weekend. Our Calvin Cutler reports the demonstration to support law enforcement was met with opposition from Black Lives Matter supporters.
A rally of a few hundred people supporting law enforcement was cut short and became remarkably tense when counterprotesters chanted and gave speeches over a loudspeaker.
A cellphone video that's received hundreds of thousands of views recorded by one counterprotester illustrates the tension and the confrontation from both sides: "Black lives don't matter at all to me. White lives matter. You've had everything. Free F****** everything. Blacks have been coddled for years, free college, free everything."
That was just one of many cellphone videos taken of the confrontation between the two groups. Police say there were agitators on both sides.
Capitol Police in Montpelier say this is the first event in a long time where there's been a confrontation on the Statehouse lawn and that protesters from both sides were escalating the situation.
Police say their main priority is balancing keeping people safe with letting them exercise their First Amendment rights.
"I think something that we're losing right now in society is the ability to disagree with each other and maintain some composure. I hope we figure out what's causing that loss and bring it back," Capitol Police Chief Matthew Romei said.
Though the rally turned into a screaming match at times, some protesters and counterprotesters were able to come together afterward and discuss their differences.
Police did not make any arrests or issue any citations but they are investigating several complaints from the confrontation to see if they warrant any further action from police.
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