WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Protesters and police got into a heated exchange over the Fourth of July weekend in West Haven.
Protesters gathered at the West Haven Green and marched to the West Haven Police Department in response to the police-related death of Mubarak Soulemane back in January.
He was shot and killed by a State Trooper in West Haven after allegedly leading police on a chase from Norwalk into West Haven in a stolen vehicle. As protesters made their way back to the Green, that’s when things escalated.
Witnesses tell News 8 that a woman drove her car through the group of nearly 50 protesters and that’s when witnesses say protesters then threw things at the woman’s car.
As police responded, tensions between protesters and officers started to escalate.
Cell phone video shows the moment tensions reached a boiling point with West Haven officers and protesters in a heated exchange.
In another dash-cam video, you can see that a blue car crossed the double yellow line and raced toward the group in the middle of the street.
News 8 talked to one man in another car who did not want to be on camera. He says his dash-cam video caught the whole thing.
“We saw one car that appeared to go through the crowd or at least approach the crowd and push its way through. Once I saw that and other cars coming from the other direction, I thought I would be clear to cross or get through because other cars were,” said the man.
That’s when the man says he was caught up in the group with his wife and baby in the car with him.
“One girl ran up and kicked it and claimed I tried to run her over and a few other people were just standing there and agitating and motioning for me to turn around. But as I did try to inch backward, [but] every time, someone would try to jump behind my car,” he said.
He told News 8 that he just wanted to protect his family in the moment.
“As I said ‘I support your cause. I have a baby in the car.’ His response was ‘get out and fight me punk’ which was disheartening. It just escalated from there until police finally showed up with dogs and cleared them but it was a pretty tense couple of minutes,” said the man.
The dash-cam video also shows police moving in with a K9 dog to shift the protesters out of the street. Witnesses later claim some of the protesters were arrested.
The protesters and officers made their way to the Valero Gas Station where tensions continued.