HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There were protesters who sustained injuries from tear gas canisters and rubber bullets shot from law enforcement officers in downtown Huntsville Wednesday night.
Protesters were given a countdown to disperse and after that countdown. About an hour went by before law enforcement deployed their tactics.
Outside of what we saw from the protest on Monday, what Huntsville experienced Wednesday was historically unheard of.
One protester, who spoke to us anonymously, said he was hit by rubber bullets and a canister left a gash in his leg that required 16 stitches.
“The actual methods that are being implemented right now are resulting in things are beyond the purview of civility.” The protester said he’s feeling a bit sore and is using crutches.
We spoke to another protester who said he was hit with rubber bullets as he helped a woman having a panic attack.
“I would describe it like being stung by a bee the size of you,” he said.
Protesters were told to leave after law enforcement deemed it an illegal gathering, which doesn’t sit well with protesters expressing their right to assemble and exercise free speech.
We asked them if they were opposed to police doing their job.
“Absolutely not,” the anonymous protester said. “Mayor Battle repeatedly called us anarchists. I’m a voting citizen. I’m a member of our democracy. I’m a firm believer in the constitution.”
Most protesters united under the premise of police brutality against African-Americans. However for some of the injured, they also fear police militarization.
“I heard people behind us shout none of us are dressed for a riot. But I had a helmet and goggles on because I heard they had already shot tear gas. People need to be prepared to protect their bodies. No weapons. Nothing like that. You need to be able to protect your skull.”
One Huntsville Police officer did sustain minor injuries.
We asked several protesters if they attended the protest looking for a fight. They said they came prepared to help people should they need it.