HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Community members took their complaints about how Huntsville Police Department handled protests in June to the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council.
During the public comment meeting on August 12, about 25 people came to the city council chambers to talk about their experiences at the two controversial protests in June.
Each person was allotted five minutes to talk, and the session lasted between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with multiple speakers talking about how they felt there was confusion over the time the protests were supposed to end.
Each person said they weren’t given a warning before tear gas was released.
Another topic almost everyone brought up, how they felt the police department acted aggressively.
“I’ve seen what’s happened around the country, and I know that this is something that police have been doing, gassing and pepper spraying peaceful protesters,” one protester said. “I know a young man my son’s age who was pepper sprayed.”
Another protester said she felt police were aggressive.
“I am a soft-spoken disabled person,” she said. “The only threat was from law enforcement in full riot gear holding bright orange bullet guns while we were armed with milk and paint respirators.”
On the other hand, a man said he completely disagrees with all the testimonies. He said he believes protesters were simply trying to start trouble and looking for a fight.
“The demonstrators were given an ample opportunity to express their views,” one community member said. “An ample opportunity to disperse also. It was evident they wanted a confrontation. They deliberately disobeyed the police department instructions.”
Huntsville Police Department officials told our crews they did not use rubber bullets.
We also got a statement from the police department that reads they are doing their best to keep the community safe.
“We are looking at how to do things better and look forward to HPCAC discovering new ways to make H.P.D. better.”
The next public comment session will be August 28th.