A large protest in Fairfield County over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that caused the closure of Route 8 for several hours followed a confrontation in which protestors forced their way into Bridgeport Police Headquarters.
About 150 people were involved in the organized protest that began around noontime on Saturday, May 30 at McLevy Green on Bank Street in Bridgeport.
After some time at McLevy Green, others joined and moved to the Bridgeport Police Department on Congress Street.
Bridgeport officers maintained the front of the office building and "exhibited restraint as the protestors chanted, and then became agitated and knocked down the barriers to the site and gained access by force to the exterior doors of BPD HQ," said Scott Appleby, Director of the Bridgeport Police Department's Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security/Emergency Communications.
Officers did not engage protesters and returned to the building prior to the breach, Appleby said.
The protestors attempting to gain full access into the BPD HQ were asked to go back outside, according to Appleby, who said "the protestors refused that order, and were again asked to peacefully go back outside.
"Protesters forcefully moved further into the facility when BPD deployed pepper spray to deter breach into headquarters. The use of this tactic was announced twice with the request for protesters to exit before being disseminated."
There were no serious injuries caused by the spray and the individuals left the facility to return to the demonstration outside, Appleby said.
The remaining group began to move to various locations and ultimately proceeded to the on-ramp of State Route 8 (Route 25).
At that point, the demonstration was overseen by Connecticut State Police.
After several hours, a large group of protestors began to Exit Route 8 and returned to McLevy Green to finish the protest.
"We commend our Bridgeport community for hosting a peaceful and meaningful protest," the City of Bridgeport said in a statement. "Feelings of frustration and heartache are validated by what we saw, as to the need for change.
"We are united on these matters. It is unfortunate that some came to interrupt this show of community solidarity."
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