CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — At least seven people were arrested and two were hospitalized during protests after North Carolina’s scaled-back share of the Republican National Convention concluded.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers used pepper spray on demonstrators and made two arrests after a crowd surrounded a burning object in the street after 10 p.m. Monday hours after about 300 delegates met to renominate President Donald Trump, police said.
The object appeared to be an American flag, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Police accused a protester of pushing an officer off his bike as he tried to put out the fire, according to a statement from the department posted early Tuesday morning.
Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston was present during the encounter and was hit by pepper spray, the Observer reported. In a tweet to the police department, Winston disputed allegations that a protester pushed the officer.
A video posted to Twitter on Tuesday after midnight appeared to show a group of officers using their bikes to knock down demonstrators. One ran his bike over the legs of a woman who was pepper sprayed and collapsed in the street.
Four more arrests came as officers attempted to detain a person accused of cutting down a flag outside Charlotte’s police headquarters, the department said. Police again used pepper spray and two people “were injured during incident” and taken to the hospital, according to the agency.
Police did not say how they were injured or comment on their conditions.
Monday night’s arrests followed about a dozen others in the three days leading up to the convention, including one person who illegally entered a secure area in the hours before the event, and a protester who was accused of assaulting a woman and an officer after the convention.
Charlotte’s portion of convention events, scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ended Monday afternoon following the roll-call vote among delegates. The convention’s prime-time speakers are scheduled to deliver their remarks from Washington and elsewhere to a largely virtual audience.