KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While Kansas City’s Trump protests were considerably less violent than in places like Chicago or St. Louis, there were times on Saturday that the scene became quite tense.
Police said four arrests were made in connection to the protests, but overall the scene was free of any large scale chaos.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte wrote a blog post on Sunday explaining some of the actions taken by police.
Forte said an estimated 500 people had gathered outside the Midland Theatre.
The police chief said in his post that throughout the protests, police were already investigating a bomb threat directed at the Midland Theatre, which likely explains Trump’s late appearance and prompt exit at the rally.
As the protests commenced, Forte sent several tweets describing the situation, one describing the police use of “foggers” after protesters were seen throwing objects.
A Twitter user posted the video below Saturday showing police using pepper spray on the crowd. Forte acknowledged videos of the incidents that were posted online.
“A video has been circulating showing police using pepper spray against those people,” Forte wrote. “The video is a small moment in time and does not depict what led up to the incident.”
Forte posted footage from a surveillance camera in the area.
The video shows the protesters pushing into the street, surrounding cars, and just after the 2-minute mark, shows protesters on the left side of the screen knocking a barricade into the street.
An officer at 3:09 is then seen using pepper spray to push the protesters back onto the sidewalk. Several other officers came to the officer’s side and also sprayed the crowd.
Another officer is seen at 3:53 approaching protesters who appear to be dispersing and sprays them as well.
Forte said the scene was becoming increasingly volatile, with protesters on both sides of the street attempting to come together, surrounding police. Forte even said a police horse was assaulted.
The Kansas City Star reported a photographer saw a woman slap a police horse in the face, then disappear into the crowd.
The police chief explained the use of pepper spray.
Police issued repeated commands to stay out of the street. They warned that pepper spray would be used if those gathered didn’t follow the commands. People had ample opportunity to back up or disperse. Police tried to get them out of the street for three minutes. Those three minutes were just when they were in the street itself. Tensions had been building before that on the sidewalk. They blocked traffic and compromised safety. Some cars caught in the back-up were surrounded. When the crowd refused to obey police commands, officers had to deploy pepper spray on two occasions throughout the evening.
Forte stressed that the quick Twitter videos or still photographs did not capture the true atmosphere at the scene, and stressed that given the situation, he believes his officers used great restraint.
“Our officers acted appropriately to keep a volatile situation under control, and they kept people and property safe,” Forte wrote. “I’m proud of them.”