D.C. Police Trapped 70 Protesters in a Private Home

The group had to take refuge overnight after being targeted with tear gas and flashbang devices.

6/3/2020 5:18:00 PM

The homeowner who sheltered the protesters, a 44-year-old man named Rahul Dubey, described the scene as a “human tsunami,” adding, “If people like us aren’t going to open a door, then who the fuck is?”

The group had to take refuge overnight after being targeted with tear gas and flashbang devices.

The altercation occurred around 10 p.m., hours after D.C.’s unprecedented curfew went into effect at 7 p.m. on Monday. The homeowner who sheltered the protesters, a 44-year-old man named Rahul Dubey, described the scene to a Washington Post reporter Derek Hawkins as a “human tsunami,” adding, “If people like us aren’t going to open a door, then who the fuck is?”

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A protester named Meka told DCist that the group began demonstrating near Lafayette Square shortly before the area was teargassed — ahead of Donald Trump’s appearance at a church for a photo op — an act which many witnesses described as another case of sudden, unprovoked aggression by law enforcement. A witness who saw the group being corralled on Swann Street a few hours later told NBC News4 that cops “charged all the way up to this man’s door and maced everybody coming into this house.” Dubey told ABC affiliate WJLA that as he was yelling at people to get in his house, cops “were spraying pepper spray into people’s backs and the side of their head. It was pandemonium and mayhem inside for about an hour and a half.” Hawkins tweeted that once inside the home, protesters who’d been injured by the pepper-spray attacks were taken to the basement, where they were treated with milk applied to their eyes. WTOP reporter Ken Duffy posted images of cops trapping protesters in an alley on Swann Street, before briefly taking refuge in the home.

Protesters also documented their accounts on social media. Allison Lane tweeted from inside Dubey’s home, “lots of people are hurt but not terribly. They chased us away from the White House with flashbangs into a residential neighborhood. Nobody is really sure when we’ll be able to leave.” Lane also wrote that some police officers were “trying to say we broke into the house,” and later that “the owner just said the cops aren’t even letting them out of the house.” At one point the cops reportedly allowed pizza delivery to make its way into the home.

Read more: The Cut »

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