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Protesters, officers dispute use of Molotov cocktail in George Floyd rally; MPD responds

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Updated: 5:14 a.m. on Thursday, June 4

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After saying protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at them Tuesday, Milwaukee police are changing their story.

MPD is now saying 'objects' were thrown at officers.

MPD released body camera video from the incident early Thursday morning.


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Posted: 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3.

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After saying protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at them Tuesday, Milwaukee police are changing their story.

Police released pictures of what they said was the Molotov cocktail, saying it was thrown at them during a clash with protesters at 6th and McKinley Tuesday night.

They said officers on the scene called out the bomb over the radio.

But in an interview Wednesday, police said they are now not sure it was a bomb.

“The officers out on the line there saw what they believed to be a Molotov cocktail and they announced on the radio that that device was thrown at them,” said Capt. Heather Wurth of the Milwaukee Police Department.

When asked if it actually was a Molotov cocktail, “Well, we’ll have to send it to the crime lab and do some investigation and some analysis on it, but the officers believed that’s what it was,” she said.

Both protesters and police are blaming each other for that violent clash. But police say they didn’t instigate it.

The march had been peaceful until the group got to the intersection. Our CBS 58 crew arrived when police were trying to arrest a protester.

That’s when others in the crowd started throwing objects at officers, police say it was bottles and rocks.

Backup was then called in.

Some protesters tried to stop the objects from being thrown, but it was too late.

So the police department declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, and we provided the protesters specific amount of time to leave the area peacefully and a direction to do so,” said Capt. Wurth. “When that didn’t work, we used some devices in an attempt to get them to do so.”

They wouldn’t comment on the devices, but our CBS 58 news crew was there and saw tear gas and rubber bullets.

It’s not clear why those initial officers went into the crowd of protesters, but police say their job is assisting with crowd control.

One protester who's been out the last several nights said things were peaceful Tuesday night until police started using force.

He said he was tear gassed and hit by a rubber bullet. He said he understands that police have a job to do, but called Tuesday night's force excessive. 

"At 6th and McKinley that's where they got us with mace and everything I showed you in the backpack," said Dane Jensen.

"That was literally a water bottle and filter," he said of the object police described as a Molotov cocktail. "Like when you go camping and you pick up water from the hills, it was a coal filter."

Jensen says Wednesday they are working hard to make sure things do not escalate. 

He says they even stopped some people with spray paint and told them to go home.

MPD released their body cam footage of the incident Wednesday night (Warning: Strong language)

To view CBS 58's live stream of the incident at 6th and McKinley, see below:

(WARNING: This video has not been edited and contains strong language.)


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