7 arrested, 2 officers hurt when anti-Trump protesters reportedly throw rocks at cops downtown

Hundreds marched through the streets of downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, after an anti-Trump rally at the Statehouse (John Whalen/WTHR photo)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An Anti-Trump protest reportedly grew violent downtown Saturday evening.

Around 3,000 protesters first came together around 5 p.m. on the south lawn of the Statehouse. They stayed there for roughly an hour and a half, roughly 500 started marching toward Monument Circle. After lapping the Circle a few times, they broke off with one group going north from the Circle, and a second going south.

The north group splintered off further, entering the roadway. Drivers had to stop to avoid hitting anyone.

Even though protesters violated city ordinances by crossing into the street and blocking traffic, Metro Police said they focused on stopping traffic to keep the protesters safe and didn’t arrest or cite anyone for violating those ordinances.

Police said protesters later started chanting and making threats directly at IMPD officers like, “Kill the police.” IMPD eventually decided to arrest protesters they referred to as "instigators” in order to keep the rest of the crowd peaceful. When they tried to make those arrests, though, others in the crowd started throwing rocks at the cops.

Two officers were hurt, but their injuries were minor. IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said they even continued working afterward instead of getting medical treatment.

Seven protesters total were arrested. Police say three of those arrested were from out of town, but couldn't immediately confirm where they were from.

Troy Riggs
IMPD Chief Troy Riggs (WTHR photo)

“We believe we had some instigators who arrived from out of town, but there were locals as well,” Chief Riggs told the media.

The rest of the protesters quickly went back to their peaceful marching. By 10:15 p.m., most had gone home and downtown was back to a normal Saturday night.

There have been reports some protesters showed up with backpacks filled with rocks. IMPD’s asking anyone with video of that to come forward.

There were also reports some protesters passed out literature. Anyone who received that literature is asked to bring it to detectives.

Riggs said that at one point, Trump supporters showed up to counter-protest but officers asked them to leave so they didn't make the situation more tense, and they agreed to go.

Police did use pepper balls to help subdue the crowd at one point, but there have been no reports of protester injuries.

Chief Riggs emphasized those responsible for the violence were only "a handful compared to all those who came down to exercise their First Amendment right." The march to the Circle was a continuation from a rally earlier at the Statehouse where close to 3,000 gathered on the steps and lawn outside.

"We’re here to bring the love, not the hate," a woman shouted into a megaphone from the Statehouse steps.

(John Whalen/WTHR photo)

There certainly was no love loss though in the crowd for President-Elect Donald Trump, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence or any of their supporters.

"Love trumps hate! Love trumps hate," several people shouted when they spotted a man in the crowd wearing the name "Trump" on the back of his hat.

Several in the crowd turned and shouted at the man, who eventually left as someone shouted, "Wave goodbye! Wave Goodbye!"

There were other tense moments between Trump supporters and demonstrators.

"I’m an American. You’re an American," one woman wearing a Donald Trump shirt told another woman who was holding an-anti Trump sign.

A man wearing a Trump shirt told a group of anti-Trump demonstrators standing on a corner after the rally, “I love everybody down here. I don’t care what color you are. I’m not a racist and I’m being attacked because I have a Donald Trump shirt on.”

(John Whalen/WTHR photo)

“Donald Trump sees four colors: red, white, blue and green. Pray for him. Give him a chance,” a female Trump supporter told the same small group of protestors.

Many of those who came to demonstrate said they’d already made up their minds based on how they believed the President-Elect ran his campaign.

“I’m tired of the disrespect he’s shown this country. He’s not a good American,” said Michael Armbruster.

“He has set the example for sexism. He has set the example for racism. He has set the example for misogyny and intolerance,” added George Brenner.

Given the anger and frustration in the crowd, it appeared the healing the President-Elect talked about in his victory speech hasn’t even started.