A disturbing video shows police stomping on water bottles and other supplies in the Asheville medic tent
Multiple videos went viral yesterday showing police officers from Asheville, NC destroying a medic tent by stomping and stabbing bottles of water meant for protestors. Witnesses spoke out on social media and through local news stations to say that just minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew went into effect on Tuesday night, the officers destroyed the medic station.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports that protestors had set up a makeshift medical tent stationed about a block away from the Asheville police station. As protestors began vacating the area to comply with curfew, APD officers destroyed the tent and all the medical supplies and other contents in it.
Glenna Grant, a volunteer medic, tells the Citizen Times that she and others weren’t even participating in the protest, but wanted to provide a safe space for anyone injured throughout the evening.
“We set up a medical center so that anyone protesting would be safe,” she says. “We set up a triage area to attend to any injuries. We had eyewash, sutures, EMTs, doctors. They [the police] came in full riot gear, hit us with shields, threw several people to the ground, we were grabbed, thrown, shouted at, screamed at, treated like criminals. No one resisted.”
Several people shared images and videos of the violent destruction on social media. One woman, Gillian Maurer, shared a Facebook post describing her experience.
“APD had told the medics that they were ok to stay there past curfew so long as they stayed in the designated area,” she writes. “Then, about 10 or 15 min past the start of curfew, a line of riot police closed in and trapped us in the nook we had set up for medic support. 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. The entire time I had my hands up and was stating my intention to leave peacefully if they allowed me to get my car keys. The amount of sheer anger in the eyes of these men as they ignored my pleas was disgusting to say the least.”
The stabbing of dozens of packages of water bottles left an enormous mess along the sidewalk and street outside of the tent area.
Asheville Police Chief David Zack says his officers were supposed to confiscate the bottles instead of destroy them. “Over the past three days APD has tried to eliminate objects that can be thrown at protesters and law enforcement. Because water bottles, in particular, have been continuously used over the last three nights, officers destroyed them,” Zack said in a Facebook post.
“My message to police in situations like this participating in the destruction of property and violence is never going to end protester destruction of property and violence and I would ask for a compassionate tone,” Maurer added in her Facebook post.
According to WLOS News 13, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer released a statement: “I am aware of the incident involving officers destroying the medical supplies of demonstrators, including water bottles, food, and other supplies. Council has asked for an explanation of why that occurred. We are a city that cares and I want to thank all of our officers who have taken a knee and worked to protect us. But this was a disappointing moment in an otherwise peaceful evening.”