Isaiah Payne was peacefully protesting against police violence when federal police became violent with him and other demonstrators in Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday evening.
Payne watch the protests go from chants of “No justice; no peace,” “Black lives matter” and “No racist police” to screams from a riot of rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas.
Similar scenes have played out nationwide since last week as officers incited more chaos from crowds that have been protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Violence is the voice of the unheard,” Payne, 24, said, referring to protesters who have set cars and buildings ablaze.
It was reported that about 4,000 protesters have been arrested across the nation and 88 arrested in D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Many of the local arrests were for violations of the curfew that started at 7 p.m. Monday.
Alonda Brown, 21, attended the protest on Sunday evening and described the experience as “surreal.”
“Having to protest for Black lives to be respected and not killed in the streets” was simply too emotional, Brown said.
“The police were the ones making it violent,” she added, because they wouldn’t allow the two protest groups in the area to connect with one another. Although a few hundred officers were in the area, Brown said that she “no sense of protection.”