The Tuesday night incidents that stretched over hours are the latest confrontations to transpire near the White House, where protesters have been gathering daily for more than a month to protest for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
In one of the incidents that occurred just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, officials in charging documents said that a person later identified as Dre Thompson, 40, confronted and punched someone shouting “four more years, four more years” near the White House.
As D.C. police officers attempted to arrest Thompson, who they say initially resisted, another protester broke through the crowd-control line and assaulted a sergeant, charging documents state. Joseph Diamond III, 46, attempted “to impede and obstruct officers from making the arrest,” court documents said.
Prosecutors charged Thompson with simple assault and Diamond with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.
Another peaceful demonstration escalated about 10:45 p.m. that night, when a person who officials later identified as 22-year-old Darius Wilson of the District confronted an officer in a police line and threatened to assault him, authorities asserted in charging documents. Wilson was detained Tuesday and later charged with threatening bodily harm.
About an hour after Wilson’s arrest, Tayvon Turner, a 27-year-old from the District., spray-painted concrete barriers erected by the D.C. Department of Public Works, officials said in court documents. He was stopped and detained a block away from the scene and later charged with defacing property, police said.
Diamond, Thompson, Wilson and Turner all entered pleas of not guilty during a court hearing Wednesday, when they were all released ahead of their upcoming court dates. Their attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.
Leigh McAlpin, a professional fundraiser with combat medic training who helps run the aid station at Black Lives Matter Plaza, said arrests started in the early evening when protesters were walking peacefully back and forth across H Street NW, thwarting efforts by the police to keep traffic flowing. McAlpin was in the area starting about 3 p.m. and witnessed protesters getting detained hours later.
Videos posted on Twitter appeared to show some of the tension Tuesday. One shows at least one person being taken into custody at 16th and H streets NW after a struggle with officers. Another shows two men engaged in a heated conversation before one person punches the other in the face. Police attempted to arrest the man moments later as a crowd of protesters swarmed around them.
“The police have picked off the ones of us who have been there the longest, who are the most vocal,” McAlpin said. “We lost a pretty big voice last night.
Peter Hermann contributed to this report.