Clash Between Police and Protesters in Brockton Brings Out Fireworks and Tear Gas

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A protest against police brutality in Brockton, Massachusetts, grew violent Tuesday night as demonstrators shot fireworks at officers, who deployed pepper spray and tear gas.

The protest began peacefully earlier in the day with a march that started about two miles away from the police station, by the intersection of Centre Street and Commercial Street, where tensions came to a head around 8:30 p.m.

Fireworks exploded between police officers, who set off tear gas and pepper spray.

"It started out really, really sane. And there was a lull after, everything died down, everybody was going home, and then, all of the sudden, firecrackers started," said Lori Watson, who lives nearby.

Watson said she has first aid training and came down in case anyone needed help.

Lori Watson of Brockton says she does not want the actions of a few people to take away from the subject of the protest against police brutality.

"I came down just to check, make sure that everything's OK, and I got accosted by two guys with firecrackers, who had no attachment to anything ... started yelling at me, and then they threw firecrackers, and they threw a rock at us as we're walking," Watson recalled. "There's no reason for this, and I guarantee you that they're not really either attached to the protest, or probably not even from here, for the simple fact that we don't do this. We are a solid community."

Outside the police station, firecrackers and glass bottles were thrown at officers, who set off tear gas in response.

The crowd began to disperse, but as police advanced back toward it, protesters returned to face them.

It was then, shortly after 8:30, that a large firework exploded in the middle of the group of officers.

Almost immediately, police pushed toward the crowd and fired pepper spray into the air.

At times, the situation seemed to get more peaceful. But issues continued to flare up as police continued to advance the line. More fireworks went off, and more tear gas canisters were sent over the barrier into the crowd.

Police fired what seemed to be rubber bullets at multiple points during the night.

The lingering effects of the tear gas were impacting people on both sides of the barricade.

At a nearby Dunkin' shop, the windows were smashed out.

Around 11 p.m., police appeared to chase after one or more people and put them in custody.

Watson said she does not want the actions of a few people to take away from the sense of community in Brockton or the important message of the protesters.

"Generally, when push comes to shove, we bring it together. And that's what we did today," Watson said. "What's really important is the fact that we are all the same person, we are all equal, and we do not deserve to be treated as less than. That is not the way it is. Nobody who is a shade darker than anybody else should be treated less than that person."

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