Wichita police have arrested two people and more arrests are expected after a confrontation between demonstrators and officers at a north side intersection.
People began gathering around 7 Monday evening in the area of 21st and Arkansas, and police chief Gordon Ramsay said a glass window on a business was broken later in the night, and random shots were fired. He said disturbances began to increase throughout the night.
Officers told the crowd to leave, and most of them did, but Ramsay said around 50-70 people remained and continued to show hostility to officers. He said rocks, bottles, cinder blocks and debris were thrown at officers, and there were also some shots fired. Officers heard shots bouncing off a police armored vehicle. No officers were hit by gunfire, although one officer believes a round struck his helmet. Ramsay said officers had minor injuries from items that were thrown at them, and two required stitches.
Ramsay said two people were arrested for criminal discharge of a firearm, rioting and failure to disperse. He said police are continuing to investigate the disturbance and people who were involved will be held accountable.
Ramsay said police have been working well with community leaders to allow for peaceful protests, but the people involved in the incidents late Monday and early Tuesday were not people who have been involved in the discussions. He said it was “an organic gathering that just happened, via social media or however the word got out.” The chief said incidents like this “doesn’t do our community any good. It doesn’t help anybody further any mission or make any valid points. It was extremely dangerous and we’re just not going to tolerate that.” He said it is a crime to incite a riot, and people who are planning looting or other unlawful activities will be held accountable.
Chief Ramsay said officers used chemical irritants, smoke rounds, aerial bursts and foam rounds to break up the crowd.
Wichita police officers blocked streets and got into a skirmish with protesters early Tuesday at a north side intersection.
Officers were blocking the area of Kellogg and Main to prevent a demonstration Monday evening, but protesters began gathering near 21st and Amidon, and officers were blocking traffic at 21st and Waco.
There was a report of someone firing shots into the air at one point, but no serious injuries were reported.
At least one business at 21st and Waco had a broken window during the incident.
Police have not released any further details at this time.
Demonstrations have been held across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Four police officers were fired and one of them has been charged with third-degree murder.
Protests have also been reported in Topeka, and in Kansas City there was damage to a number of businesses in the Country Club Plaza.