Burlington Police Review Confrontation With Protesters

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Last Sunday, as New England governors and premiers from eastern Canada gathered at the Burlington Hilton, a group of protesters attempted to block the hotel driveway.

Police say they repeatedly warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they didn’t move away from the driveway. Videos posted later online, which you’re hearing now, show some officers fired ‘sting ball’ pellets.

In a statement issued after the incident the Burlington Police Department said the action was taken to protect officers from those in the crowd. Demonstrators characterized the incident as an unprovoked overreaction to a peaceful protest. Now, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling says the department is reviewing the incident.

A postscript: In the interview at noon, Chief Schirling said he had seen a photograph in which he believed a demonstrator was grabbing a police officer’s baton. After the program, Schirling told VPR he was sent a high-resolution copy of the photograph. He said the new photo shows the protestor was reaching for something, but not a baton. Schirling said the department will now try to determine what that was. The chief apologized for the error.

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