Two police officers were injured Saturday when protesters began throwing bricks and other objects during a George Floyd protest in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Following the incident, Mayor Eric Papenfuse confirmed via Twitter that the officers had been hospitalized:
With two Capital Police officers in the hospital and several patrol cars badly damaged by bricks, I am watching law enforcement repeatedly attempt to deescalate while allowing room for peaceful protest – Commissioner Carter has been out front & represents the best of #Harrisburg
— Eric Papenfuse (@EricPapenfuse) May 30, 2020
Tensions rose unexpectedly when the protesters marched down Front Street where they encountered a Harrisburg police officer standing outside his vehicle, according to PennLive.com.
“Things started to heat up when it seemed like kids – I don’t know who – were throwing water bottles at a cop car near Front Street,” said Harrisburg resident Sean Kitchen.
The group surrounded the car and began chanting obscenities. Moments later, 20 to 30 officers in riot gear showed up at the scene.
“It didn’t seem like there was any back and forth – it just seemed like after five or ten seconds, pepper spray went off and people started running,” Kitchen recalled, adding, “After that, kids reacted by throwing bricks, water bottles and rocks at the cop cars.”
When one of the bricks struck a policeman in the back of the head, the other officers began firing rubber bullets at some of the protesters, according to WGAL.
“Once they showed up and pepper sprayed, that’s when kids started throwing rocks, bricks, stuff like that,” Kitchen said.
Following the protest, Papenfuse announced that the city had issued a 9 p.m. curfew.
“Residents are requested to stay home,” the notice read.
Also on Saturday, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued a statement about the protests erupting in Pennsylvania and urged residents to “speak out because no one should be at risk of harm because of oppression or racism.”
“We have seen these injustices happen in the Commonwealth, and this week, we were all shaken by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. As Pennsylvanians protest, I urge everyone involved to be peaceful and to keep each other safe,” he concluded.