Multiple people were arrested outside the Johnson City Wegmans on Wednesday night, and more were pepper-sprayed by police, including a Press & Sun-Bulletin / pressconnects reporter.
A crowd of about 50 people gathered outside the grocery on Harry L Drive in the wake of the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis by police officers, and the arrest of Binghamton resident Hamail Waddell in the early hours of New Year's Day.
The protest "Justice for Tyre" started out peacefully at around 7 p.m., but police soon arrested several people. Press & Sun-Bulletin reporter Sarah Eames was pepper-sprayed while covering the demonstration.
[Watch the video at the top of this story of our journalist being pepper-sprayed]
[This is a developing story − keep checking pressconnects.com for more details]
In a video shot by Eames on her mobile device, a Johnson City police officer tells the crowd "Back up or you're going to get sprayed." One second later, the officer sprays directly into Eames' face as she was yelling "I'm Press!" and holding up her media credentials.
Members of the Johnson City Police Department, Broome County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police Department were at the scene Wednesday night.
The Johnson City Police Department and Wegmans did not respond to requests for comment on the arrests or the incident involving Eames.
Wegmans closed the store during the protests.
What to know:NY Attorney General investigating Binghamton police's arrest of Hamail Waddell
Why protesters came to Wegmans
The protest was meant "to highlight the ongoing surge of racialized police violence currently gripping the country," according to organizers of the event, which was promoted through social media.
Nichols died last month after being beaten for three minutes after a traffic stop and foot chase on Jan. 7, according to body-worn and utility pole camera footage released by the Memphis Police Department. The footage shows the officers pepper-spraying, kicking and punching Nichols while he was restrained, bashing him with a baton and shooting him with a stun gun.
Multiple bystander videos show Binghamton resident, Waddell, who was facedown in handcuffs on the sidewalk at Hawley and Collier streets, shouting, "I can't breathe!" as bystanders pleaded with Officer Brad Kaczynski to remove his knee from Waddell's neck - a scene that local advocates have described as similar to the events leading to the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Protests have emerged at several events in Binghamton
Several dozen people shut down the first Binghamton City Council meeting of the year on Jan. 11, calling for Kaczynski's immediate firing and arrest under the anti-chokehold law, which establishes grounds for felony charges for police officers who engage in "violent strangulation," or "criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation."
The three Democratic members of the Binghamton City Council called for an independent third party to investigate the alleged misconduct by the Binghamton Police Department on Jan. 1, according to legislation proposed Jan. 23.
And several dozen community members loudly commandeered a public comment portion of the Jan. 24 Binghamton City School District board meeting to advocate for the removal of school resource officers from local school districts.
Waddell pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at his Jan. 18 arraignment.
Reporting from Sarah Eames contributed to this story.
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This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Wegmans protest: Arrests, reporter pepper-sprayed in Johnson City