Breaking News
More () »

'There is a lot to unpack here': Spokane witness shares first-hand account of protests

Jeremiah Paparazzo streamed the Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend in downtown Spokane.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Jeremiah Paparazzo streamed the Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend in downtown Spokane. He was there to document what happened.

Paparazzo told KREM 2 he is not happy with how Spokane police handled protests over the weekend. So, he wrote a seven page open letter describing how the day unfolded.

It reads in part, "There is a lot to unpack here and I feel like I'm ill equipped to do it. I practiced my hand at on-the-ground journalism for the first time on May 31st, 2020. I went there with a plan: to document and, hopefully by threat of that, prevent agitation. I failed. I wish I could tell you I found the agitators and prevented them from high-jacking a peaceful protest. But that would mean we wouldn't be in this situation; faced with the abuse of power by police, brought up in the aftermath of a single looting event by individuals who had likely already fled the scene. So let's start at the beginning."

"I think what's important is the people aren't happy either," Paparazzo said.

He said police interaction with protesters was positive at first. But he believes those interactions turned negative after people began looting from the downtown Nike store and police later resorted to tear gas.

RELATED: VERIFY: Were protesters tear-gassed to clear the way for Trump's walk to church?

Paparazzo said he also got tear gassed

"I got fired on five times and tears gassed at least twice," Paparazzo said. "I wasn't prepared. It just gets in your eyes and just keeps burning, crying makes it worse, rubbing your eyes makes it worse."

As he followed protesters through the streets, Paparazzo said it seemed they increasingly lacked guidance from organizers. That confusion is what he believes may have added to the chaos later on.

"The lesson I think to be learned her by protesters is they need to know where they're going ans who's leading," Paparazzo said.

With potential plans for another protest this weekend, Jeremiah hopes police will respond differently and events will end more peacefully.

RELATED: 'Power to the people': George Floyd's brother speaks at NYC memorial

RELATED: 'You changed the world George': Floyd's memorial service in Minneapolis marked by calls to action

Before You Leave, Check This Out