UPDATED: After angrily confronting police officers during a protest in Manassas Saturday night, Del. Lee Carter appeared to have been sprayed by some kind of chemical agent by police.

Meanwhile, at least two state police officers were struck by thrown objects, including a brick and a rock, during the protest, according to Virginia State Police.

The events transpired during a protest against the recent death of George Floyd, who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police earlier this week. The protest began with people lining Sudley Road with signs sometime before 6 p.m.

Julie Renne, of Manassas, said she went to the area to join the protests at about 6:30 p.m. She said the group was initially peaceful and included a mix of people -- young and old, black and white.

"It was like we were all there in solidarity," Renne said.

Renne said she left the protest at about 8:30 p.m. At the time, she said, the crowd began to get larger and was moving toward the Kaiser Permanente building and Checkers restaurant.

At that point, she said, about 200 people had gathered along with about 20 police officers. She said she could hear the crowd chanting but could not hear what was being said.

"The sound was louder. It just sounded more aggressive," she said.

By about 8:20 p.m., police had declared the gathering an "unlawful assembly" and mandated that the crowd disperse. In a tweet, police said there were reports of objects being thrown at officers and vehicles. Protesters reportedly broke windows of some area businesses later in the night.

Carter, D-50th, was filmed attending the protest on Facebook live video at about 10 p.m. Saturday night.

Carter could be seen shouting a series of questions toward officers and demanding to know "which agency flash-banged" him when he arrived at the scene of the protest near Sudley Road and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas.

Carter stood in front of a line officers on Sudley Manor Drive before kneeling before them for several minutes. The officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder along the edge of the road; most held riot shields in front of their faces.

Carter can be heard asking officers: "What's in your hand? ... What are you about to inflict on these people? ... I definitely inhaled some C.S. when I got here," Carter said.

Earlier in the evening, there were reports of officers using pepper spray against some protesters.

When the officers walked away from where Carter was kneeling, Carter got up and followed the officers down the street, saying: "Wow, they just left instead of answering a single question."

Carter then followed the officers and continued shouting questions such as: "What are you guarding here? ... Are your cameras on?"

A few minutes later, there was a physical altercation between the officers and Carter. The officers pushed against Carter with their shields.

Lee Carter doused with milk

Someone pours milk onto Del. Lee Carter's face late Saturday after he was apparently sprayed with some kind of chemical agent after confronting police.

Shortly thereafter, Carter said: "Now you've sprayed C.S. or O.C. on a member of the General Assembly ..." before squatting down in the grass. People could be seen surrounding Carter and pouring water and milk on his face.

Attempts to reach Prince William County police for comment were not immediately successful in the wake of the event. The Facebook Live filming ended at about 11 p.m.

At 11:35 p.m., Virginia State Police confirmed that "non-lethal tactics such as O.C. 'pepper' spray and powder" were used to disperse the crowd, which had become violent, according to Corinne Geller, state police spokeswoman.

State police aided Prince William police in controlling the crowd and "within a short period of time, the protesters turned violent and began throwing rocks and bottles at passing vehicles and then at law enforcement," Geller said.

One state police officer was struck in the head with a brick but suffered "only a minor injury as his helmet took the brunt of the impact," Geller said in an email.

A second officer suffered "a minor injury" when he was struck in the leg with a rock, Geller's email said.

Protesters were given "repeated commands" to disperse but refused, Geller said.

Del. Danica Roem, who watched the events involving Carter unfold on Facebook Live, expressed dismay at the video, saying she was "at a loss for words" after seeing her fellow delegate apparently sprayed by police officers.

"I just watched my colleague get pepper sprayed and it's beyond stunning," Roem said.

Roem, D-13th, said she watched as Carter asked police questions several questions and then followed officers when they did not respond. But she said the officers' reaction seemed out of proportion to Carter's actions and questions.

"There is a difference between someone shouting and someone spraying something in their eyes that literally knocks them to the ground," Roem said.

Roem said she was glad to see people in Manassas standing up to protest and express their First Amendment rights in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police. But said she was disheartened to see the aggressive police response.

"That use of force you have to question," Roem said of the apparent use of pepper spray. "Why is that an option right here in Manassas for people who are gathering and just protesting?"

It was not yet clear whether the protests resulted in other injuries or any arrests.

At about 1:50 a.m. Sunday, Prince William police issued a final tweet saying the crowd had dispersed and that damage from the protest was still being assessed. The tweet said the department would release more details later Sunday morning.

This report was updated with additional information from Prince William County police and Virginia State Police as well as additional details from the video-taped interaction between Del. Lee Carter and state police. 

UPDATED 10:15 p.m.: Police are continuing to try to clear protesters from the area around a busy intersection in Manassas, where several hundred protesters began gathering earlier in the night.

Police declared the gathering an "unlawful assembly" at about 8:30 p.m., mandating that everyone leave the area.

Del. Lee Carter takes a knee in front of a line of police officers during a protest in Manassas Saturday night

Del. Lee Carter takes a knee in front of a line of police officers during a protest in Manassas Saturday night. Carter later confronted the officers and appeared to be sprayed with some kind of chemical.

Del. Lee Carter, D-50th, joined the protesters and can be seen speaking with a line police officers, all of whom are dressed in riot gear. Carter's interaction with the officers was captured in live-stream video taken at the scene at about 10:15 p.m. 

Some protesters said they were hit with pepper spray during the protest, according to social media reports.

protests near Sudley Road and Sudley Manor in Manassas

A group of peaceful protesters gathered along Sudley Road in Manassas Saturday night at about 6 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., police declared the crowd unruly and declared an "unlawful assembly," ordering everyone to leave the area.

Original report: Prince William County police declared an “unlawful assembly” in the area of Sudley Road and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas Saturday night, where several protesters began gathering earlier in the evening.

Residents have been asked to steer clear of the area while police officers bring the area under control.

"Multiple  officers [are] on the scene attempting to regain order," according to a tweet issued by Prince William County police at 9:23 p.m.

Police and VDOT had closed the Interstate 66 interchange to Sudley Manor Drive, the tweet said.

"An unlawful assembly was declared; all persons must vacate the area," the tweet said.

By about 9:30 p.m. police tweeted that people living near the area "should shelter in place until further notice."

There were “reports received of objects being thrown at vehicles & officers,” according to an earlier tweet, issued by the Prince William County police at 8:18 p.m.

According to videos and pictures posted on Facebook Saturday night, crowds were gathering along Va. 234 Business, also known as Sudley Road, in the vicinity of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Olive Garden.

Many of the protesters were carrying signs and chanting. Some had spilled onto Sudley Road.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday night, police were working to contain the crowd. They had blocked off the entrance to Bull Run Plaza to keep people from joining the protest. 

It’s not clear if there have been any injuries or damage in connection with the protests.

Julie Renne, of Manassas, said she went to the area to join the protests at about 6:30 p.m. She said the group was peaceful and included a mix of people -- young and old, black and white.

"It was like we were all there in solidarity," Renne said.

Renne said she left the protest at about 8:30 p.m. At the time, she said, the crowd began to get larger and was moving toward the Kaiser Permanente building and Checkers restaurant.

At that point, she said, about 200 people had gathered along with about 20 police officers. She said she could hear the crowd chanting but could not hear what was being said.

"The sound was louder. It just sounded more aggressive," she said.

While she was there, however, Renne did not see any acts of aggression by the crowd, she said.

The local protests come amid a second day of sometimes violent uprisings in cities across the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who was killed while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer who restrained Floyd by pressing his knee onto Floyd's neck until he became unresponsive.

The police officer involved with the incident has since been charged with third-degree murder.

Prince William Police Chief Barry Barnard issued a statement earlier Saturday saying he was "deeply saddened" by Floyd's killing. 

This is a developing story. Stay with Prince William Times for updates.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you

(8) comments

Mg

Totally agree should have sprayed Carter till his wet his little panties, I notice he seemed to not give a flying flip about the Police officers or businesses that were injured or busted up... Too Bad Rohme wasnt there too to get a snootfull

zcxnissan

At least the officers practiced restraint and did a fine job. I bet ya that politician will try to fire all the officers present for doing their job.

cultured2014

he deserved it..glad it happened. that's kinda what you get for participating in a riot

brian

Why are they out protesting late at night, seems to me that if you want to make a point you do it when people are around. Doing it at night means they are cowards and are not really protesting they just want to make trouble.

John Brown

The com-munist scum carter should have been arrested for disorderly conduct!

patriot4ever99

what a pathetic little man. carter you are a nobody. those officers do not take orders from you nor do they have to answer your childish questions. if pepper spray is all you got you are lucky. should of been arrested for organizing and inciting a riot. everybody take notice your elected democrat officials are not helping their constituents but organizing a riot and helping destroy local businesses and property. well done little carter.

Drronchapman

Best thing about these protests is seeing Carter roll around on the ground after deservedly getting sprayed.

Drronchapman

P

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.