The Morristown Police Department released the following statement early Sunday morning following protests in downtown Morristown overnight.
"The Morristown Police Department respects the rights of all individuals to freely assemble and participate in peaceful protest, however; this morning what was billed as a peaceful protest turned to participants throwing rocks and bottles at our officers and making threats of violence.
"A social media post was brought to our attention on Saturday afternoon which solicited individuals to join what was described as a peaceful protest beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday night. A crowd that eventually numbered approximately 150 assembled and marched throughout our downtown reciting phrases such as “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace.”
"The crowd eventually gathered at the City Center building blocking both the entrance and exit of the parking garage. Individuals attempted to incite officers in the City Center garage by shouting profanities and derogatory remarks. Officers stayed in place to protect the municipal building and vehicles parked in the garage. Protesters continued to shout profanities and threw rocks and bottles at officers. One officer was struck in the leg by a rock thrown from the crowd.
"The crowd continued to display aggressive behavior and was ordered to disburse around 12:40 a.m.
"One individual filed a report with the MPD alleging he had been struck in the face by a protester.
"MPD Chief Roger Overholt stated, “I would like to thank all the agencies that assisted us in diffusing this situation without significant property damage or injury."
Marchers joining demonstrators across the country protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck while bystanders begged him to let up protested in downtown Morristown Saturday night.
Carrying signs and chanting “no justice, no peace,” the group gathered at about 9 p.m. and marched down Main Street, over to East Andrew Johnson Highway, past the City Center and back around before breaking up into smaller groups.
The downtown area was filled with cars as bystanders took pictures and video of the marchers.
For more than an hour, while the protestors marched, law enforcement kept a noticeable presence but did nothing to impede the marchers.
For the first two hours of the march, the protest seemed to be mostly peaceful.
A counter-protestor appeared to be taken away in an ambulance for reasons that remained unclear at press time.
At some point after 11 p.m., a smaller group of protestors went to the lower parking of the city center, the entrance to Morristown Police headquarters.
There, they yelled, screamed and chanted at officers who lined the entrance of the garage presumably to prevent protestors from entering.