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Connecticut rallies mostly peaceful, 28 charged in Waterbury

Connecticut rallies mostly peaceful, 28 charged in Waterbury

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Waterbury police arrested 28 people over the weekend in connection with protests over police killings of black people, but authorities said the demonstrations were mostly peaceful as they were in cities across Connecticut.

The arrests Sunday in Waterbury were minor offenses such as disorderly conduct and interfering with police, city police Lt. David Silverio said Monday.

“We did a good job and no damage to government or private property,” he said.

No injuries were reported as people protested killings by police including the death last week of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Police officials said the people who were arrested blocked streets and caused other disruption, but did not appear to be part of the peaceful main rally organized by Black Lives Matter.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, however, said Waterbury police and state police in Bridgeport undermined health and safety by responding to peaceful protests in riot gear and making arrests. Videos showed Waterbury police tackling peaceful protesters, said David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.

One of the Waterbury rally organizers, Jalia West, urged demonstrators to stay peaceful and positive, the Republican-American reported.

“Get engaged and learn about the people in your community, not the stereotypes,” she said. “Hold everyone accountable, and don’t just fire them. Put them in jail like you put us in jail.”

Protesters blocked Interstate 84 in Waterbury and Interstate 95 in New Haven on Sunday. No arrests on the highways were reported. State police arrested two people Saturday in Bridgeport when a crowd blocked Route 8.

A crowd of people demonstrated Sunday night at the entrance of the New Haven police department after a peaceful rally earlier in the day. Police sprayed an irritating chemical at some people as they tried to enter the building.

Early Monday morning, police said someone threw a flaming homemade device at a police substation, but no major damage and no injuries were reported.

Rallies also were held in Stamford and Norwalk on Sunday. There were no reports of looting during any of the protests.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday that he was gratified that nearly all the demonstrations in Connecticut have been peaceful.

“I am with the people standing up saying ‘How can this continue?’” he said in an interview with WNPR.