Burlington police have reviewed last month’s altercation between protesters and police outside a meeting of New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers, concluding officers demonstrated "exceptional professionalism under adverse" circumstances.
Police also say they didn’t have enough officers to make arrests. For his part, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, responding to calls for an independent investigation, says he was briefed on the incident as it was unfolding.
The demonstrations got heated when protesters blocked a bus carrying state and foreign dignitaries outside the Hilton Hotel. Police say protesters were warned several times before officers were deployed to walk ahead of the bus.
When protesters refused to move, they clashed with police. Officers fired sting ball pellets and pepper spray.
Weinberger says police briefed him about preparations for the event and that officers were told to respect the rights of protesters to demonstrate. The mayor says he echoed that message to the officers, but he didn’t discuss operational details.
The Vermont Community Law Center is reviewing the 83-page incident report released by the police, as it continues to call for an independent investigation.