North Carolina mayor denounces 'disappointing moment' after police destroy medical station near protest

North Carolina mayor denounces 'disappointing moment' after police destroy medical station near protest
© JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

The mayor of Asheville, N.C., said on Facebook that she has asked for an explanation from local police after officers were seen destroying a medical aid station set up by protesters during a demonstration on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Esther Manheimer (D) wrote that the incident, during which about 10 officers were seen destroying a large pile of water bottles and other medical supplies, was a "disappointing" moment for the city.

"I am aware of the incident involving officers destroying the medical supplies of demonstrators, including water bottles, food, and other supplies. Council has asked for an explanation of why that occurred," Manheimer wrote.

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"We are a city that cares and I want to thank all of our officers who have taken a knee and worked to protect us. But this was a disappointing moment in an otherwise peaceful evening," she continued.

Sean Miller, a university student who was present for the incident, told the Asheville Citizen Times that several people clearly marked as medics were driven out of an alleyway by police.

"[The police] immediately, when they approached, they said, 'We're Asheville Police Department and you guys need to leave.' They grabbed us by the shoulders and pushed [us] out of the alleyway where we were trying to provide medical support," Miller told the newspaper.

Asheville, along with dozens of other cities in every state in the U.S., has seen days of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last week. A video of Floyd's arrest showed a now-fired officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes despite the man being handcuffed on the ground.

On Wednesday, Minnesota officials moved to upgrade a charge against the officer, Derek Chauvin, to second-degree murder while three other former officers were also charged with lesser offenses.