And the minute that projectile went over, all hell broke loose. Those front two lines broke, and the police charged at the protesters. And people started screaming and running away. I was alarmed because I was right next to two women who were wearing hijabs—and I’m a white woman for context—and I knew that if the police were going to really hurt anyone it would be those two women; they’d also been pretty vocal during the chanting. So I stepped forward to pick them up. Because at that point the police had knocked them down to the ground with that charge. And then as I stepped forward and broke that line to pick the two of them up, just to help them off the ground, a policeman smacked me with his nightstick across my ribs a couple times. I was fine and I was able to help them up and we ran the other way.
Meanwhile, while this had been happening—I didn’t know this at the time, but I heard from my mom after—she was on the side of the street. She wasn’t in the main group that was kneeling. Because she’s a journalist, she’s actually technically not allowed to protest because it’s a demonstration of political belief. Still, she is very pro-Black Lives Matter and wanted to do it anyway, in essence, but she was on the side so she wouldn’t be photographed. And the minute the police charged she tried to run into the center of the street where all the protesters were because she was afraid for me, that I was going to be hurt. And she was yelling my name and running towards me. And a policeman took his nightstick and held it against her chest and pushed her back against the building on the side of the street and said, “Get out of here. Back up, get out of here. Don’t go in. Don’t charge in.” I should say here, my mom is 64, she’s maybe 105 pounds. She’s tiny. And she was, obviously, understandably, very freaked out by that.
I got up and ran down the street, sort of following everyone running from the police that were now charging. And we found each other again—I found my mother and my father and a friend of my parents who we’d seen and joined up with along the way. And we ran and we turned down the avenue. At this point, there were people around me who had been maced and you could see the white chemicals on their faces, they were crying. And we were running down the street, and that continued for a while. Running, and then you’d pause and sort of regroup. And then they would charge again and you’d run again and then you’d pause. We were making our way down… I believe it was 4th Avenue at that point, trying to get out while staying