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Downtown Miami Protest Ends With Statues Vandalized, People Taken Into Police Custody

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Downtown Miami protest ended with statues vandalized and several people taken away by Miami police officers Wednesday.

Protesters became heated while on Biscayne Boulevard. They tried to block an unmarked police car. Someone then slammed a skateboard on the windshield of the unmarked car.

One officer was pulled away by one of his own after grabbing a man.

Video from Twitter showed another clash between police and another protester.

The organizer then used a megaphone to blame police for the tense moments.

"We've been peaceful all week long and you just broke that peace," Richard Dombroff said.

Last week, Dombroff was given an award from Miami-Dade County leaders for stopping people after they damaged a CVS when a protest ended back on May 31st.

"The police came and decided to tackle and violently arrest a bunch of peaceful protesters," the organizer said. "I've been keeping these protests peaceful. We kept it peaceful today."

Miami police say they were after people who vandalized statues at Bayfront Park and nearby during Wednesday's protest. One of them was a Christopher Columbus statue.

CBS4 News was there as a man used red spray paint for the raised fists, the letters BLM for Black Lives Matter, they wrote George Floyd's name on it as well, and painted the hands and face of the statue and painted the communist symbol hammer and sickle.

Columbus is a controversial figure in American History – criticized for his violent treatment and killing of Native Americans. This wasn't the only statue of its kind damaged.

Outside the Minnesota State Capital, protesters pulled down a Columbus statue Wednesday. And in Boston, someone beheaded one.

Back in Downtown Miami, the Juan Ponce De Leon statue was also vandalized. He is believed to have come with Columbus to explore the New World.

As for the organizer, he says before the heated moments, the protest was meant to carry the same messages as previous demonstrations.

"Justice for George Floyd and all the other oppressed voices in this country and in this world. We were here to send a message of peace and love," Dombroff said.

CBS4 reached out to police fire an official statement. Police have not said how many people were arrested or told us their charges.

The department is however asking for anyone with information on other suspects who vandalized the statues or police vehicle to contact the Miami Police Department at (305) 579-6111.

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