Peaceful protesting turned to vandalizing, looting at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton

Posted at 6:48 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 19:58:19-04

HAMPTON, Va. - There was a police presence until about 5 a.m. Wednesday after peaceful protesting turned to looting and vandalizing at Peninsula Town Center.

Our News 3 camera crew was there Tuesday night gathering footage and information.

In our captured footage, you can see it appears that police officers threw tear gas at protesters and then it looked like a protester threw it back.

Police confirmed that there were no injuries to officers last night but one female protester was injured. She declined medical care.

There were 10 arrests made involving eight adults and two juveniles, reports say.

Reports continue to say that the event began "peacefully" at the Target parking lot. Protesters walked out to Coliseum Drive and then walked to Mercury Boulevard and walked up and down the street. Then they returned to the Target parking lot.

At that time, police say the crowd split into two groups. Reports say the first group stayed at the Target parking lot and it was "very peaceful" where there was dialogue with police officers, prayer, and even hugs. The second group walked onto the interstate and shut down I-64 in both directions for about one hour. They then exited the interstate and came back to meet with the other group that stayed in the Target parking lot.

This is when the tone began to change. There was an incendiary device that was set off and shots were fired, police say. The scene escalated and glass bottles were thrown at officers with urine and feces.

The event was declared "unlawful" by police at 11:45 p.m. The group was told to disburse and that's when officers then deployed smoke and gas.

The crowds then fled to the Peninsula Town Center and began vandalizing and looting. Police say order was restored around 1:08 a.m.

Despite violent reports later that evening, police say the protests were peaceful and the department is trying to "bridge the gap and build positive relationships with the community."

Virginia State Police did confirm traffic was delayed due to protesters in the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic at Mercury Boulevard Tuesday night.

Hampton Police Chief Sult says he will be speaking at the Hampton NAACP Rally for Justice Wednesday evening to address concerns and protests.

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