TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Two opposing protests happening in Downtown Tyler, prompted a police investigation after a fight broke out over the weekend.
Orginally, the event “Protest Portland” was held in support of the protests happening in Portland Oregan, where there have been violent clashes between protesters and DHS federal agents.
Here in East Texas, those on both sides of the issue wanted their voices heard, but no one thought a fight would happen.
A video that has since gone viral, showing two separate incidents where punches and swings were thrown.
“The crowd was pressing towards the wall, and my goal was to say Mike it’s time to leave,” explained Nancy Nichols, who attended the protest said she was there to register people to vote.
Nichols claims she was trying to protect her husband from the crowd, as he tried to collect the audio equipment leftover from Hank Gilbert’s original speech.
Gilbert, who is running as the Democrat candidate against Congressman Louie Gohmert for District 1, held the rally “Protest Portland”
After the altercation on the Tyler Square, one of the people seen in the middle of it, took to Facebook in a video describing what happened.
“Me standing my ground for this woman, I unplugged the microphone…that immediately triggered all the Dems. They started shoving all these other guys and it turned into a brawl,” said Caroline Artmire in a video that has since been deleted.
With numerous protests, rallies, and events happening on the Tyler Square, the Tyler Police Department says none of them have ever gotten violent until Sunday’s protest.
“To go into that area, into a controlled professional manner, to make sure we take care of everything and de-escalate the situation,” said Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler.
Toler says in order to keep peace during protests, officers will stay back out of the immediate protest, in an effort to not spark violence.
The majority of the crowd came in support to President Trump, most of them remaining peaceful.
“There was an altercation that occurred around the area there where the microphone was involved a number of people, but in no way whatsoever did that involve everyone on the square,” said Chief Toler.
Toler says anytime there is a protest at the square, organizers should be aware there is a possibility of a counter protest. As investigators looking into the police report that was filed following the protest. The next step, collecting the audio, video, and pictures of what happened, and then at that point decide whether or not charges should be pressed.