By Associated Press - Friday, October 23, 2020

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) - Police in Ithaca used pepper spray to disperse a crowd of several dozen protesters who had gathered at police headquarters and were banging on walls and writing graffiti, officials said.

The Ithaca Voice reported that a crowd initially gathered outside police headquarters on Thursday because a protester had been arrested after a press conference held by Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican, outside the Tompkins County Republican Committee Headquarters.

Police said a protester blocked a patrol car at about 5 p.m. as a sergeant was trying to leave the headquarters building to respond to a report of shots fired. After that person was arrested on a charge of obstructing governmental administration, about 30 more protesters converged and began climbing onto the roof, banging on windows and doors and writing graffiti on the headquarters building, the department said in a news release.

An unlawful assembly was declared, and several more protesters were arrested, the police said. When the remaining protesters refused to disperse, “one short burst of pepper spray was directed at the ground,” the police said.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick later tweeted that all of those arrested had been released and the protesters had left the area.

Myrick said city officials would review footage of the confrontation to ensure that police tactics were appropriate. “I’ve heard loud and clear your concern especially about the use of pepper spray,” he said.

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