Self-identified members of the Proud Boys outnumbered anti-President Donald Trump protesters around six or seven to one in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said Monday.
Several incidents including physical fisticuffs, assaults and a stabbing occurred between pro and anti-Trump supporters, Newsham said in a joint press conference with the D.C mayor.
“What we saw when we did have conflict, there appeared to be mutual combatants on the scene. We had large numbers of folks who self-identified as Proud Boy, I don’t think we’ve had those types of numbers in the District of Columbia before,” Newsham said.
“We had smaller numbers, in my estimation, of folks who I would describe as anti-Trump groups. It was probably a ratio of about six or seven to one, so it was really incumbent upon us to ensure that everybody was safe in this environment,” Newsham said.
LIVE: Situational update December 14. https://t.co/8knZKY1mrz
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) December 14, 2020
Trump supporters held an event similar to the “Millions MAGA March” that occurred on Nov. 14 which drew a crowd of anti-Trump protesters at Black Lives Matter Plaza, in Washington, D.C. Several fights broke out throughout the day, though Newsham said there “seemed to be mutual combatants” where confrontations occurred.
“We anticipated that there was going to be conflicts coming up this weekend, what we do at the police department is we try to prevent that from occurring. We try to be there, we try to get between opposing groups particularly when it results in physical confrontation,” Newsham said.
“It’s very difficult when a confrontation like that occurs to determine who is on what side. The police get involved, they break it up, if people can be appropriately charged then they’re placed under arrest,” Newsham said. “I think it’s unfortunate if somebody feels like somebody was treated differently but there was no intention by the police department to treat anybody any differently from anybody else. Our intention was to prevent folks from getting hurt,” he said.
Four people were stabbed on Saturday night, and one nearly died from critical injuries, according to Newsham.
Over 30 people were arrested in connection with protests on Saturday, Newsham said. Eleven were arrested for simple assault, 10 for assaulting a police officer, one for assault with a dangerous weapon, six for disorderly conduct, two for weapons violations, two for release violations and one for resisting arrest.
Eight police officers were injured, and one officer sustained multiple face fractures and lacerations, according to Newsham.