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Protesters say they were "ambushed" after arrests in Downtown Huntsville

Two protesters, now released, were arrested during a march on Friday night.
Credit: Underground Protest

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Local protesters say they were '"ambushed" by police Friday night during a march for Dana Fletcher in Downtown Huntsville.

Two were arrested, and some of those moments were caught on camera at Clinton Avenue & Spragins Street. Members of the 'Underground Protest' say that intersection was where they were ending their march. 

"As we were coming down Spragins Street, all of a sudden a bunch of police officers pulled up out of nowhere and it was pretty chaotic," said a person with Underground Protest.

They were one of two protesters freed after being arrested Friday night says this happened after "two folks were following our group that had guns." The person says they were coming down Spragins Street, and were going to disperse after going through Big Spring Park. "Just all of a sudden got snatched from behind. Reflectively I kind of tried to jerk away and got full on body slammed to the pavement and I didn't run anywhere," they explained.

The two protestors were charged with "disorderly conduct" and "obstructing governmental operations". Police say they had ran away. 

"I don't know why all of a sudden they decided an ambush was appropriate where they instigate us into running and then immediately tackle us without giving us a chance to regroup or anything," said one of those arrested.

A third person who was at the protest but not arrested says there was no warning. "No call to disperse, and it was really wasn't too much of a reason to be doing all of that. We were heading out," they said..

WZDX News reached out to the Huntsville Police Department who says:

"Most of the crowd had been warned on multiple occasions not to obstruct roadways, including the individual that appeared to be in charge of the event." 

A person in the group says the group had marched for about an hour. We asked why police arrested protesters toward the end of the march. 

The Huntsville Police Department says:

"Last night we had a shooting/homicide that had officers tied up. We were unable to get officers there to address the problem until we dealt with that scene." 

One of those arrested says the group didn't have run-ins with police before, and they'd also like to see their body cam video from Friday night.

"I know for a fact there was body camera footage on my arrest, and I would love to see it. I want to see what happened exactly because it was a chaotic situation," they said.