Wilmington Police say protesters tried to block city council members after meeting, five arrested

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Group protests outside of Wilmington City Council meeting (Photo: Tanner Barth/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After 16 days of peaceful protests, five people were arrested after a crowd gathered in the middle of 3rd Street in Downtown Wilmington.

It all began before Wilmington City Council’s meeting at the Wilmington Convention Center. A large crowd of roughly 100 protesters marched to the meeting, but police say only 38 people were allowed inside due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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In the meantime, the remainder of the group protested outside the main entrance by the Cape Fear River.

The group appeared before City Council with a list of seven demands, including re-allocating $5 million for community led interventions, a citizens review board, and requiring cultural competency and training of local history.

Police say near the end of the meeting, Lily Nicole, one of the organizers, was given the opportunity to speak even though she was not on the agenda.

“Due to her behavior while speaking, she was escorted out of the convention center, where she then led the rest of the crowd around to Nutt Street and blocked all parking deck exits,” the news release said.

Officers had to escort one of the convention center workers out of the parking deck while the crowd attempted to block the officers in with a vehicle and with their bodies. Officers were able to get the worker out safely, but police said the crowd was growing increasingly hostile.

Police said the protesters attempted to block council members from leaving the building. At that time, the Wilmington Police Department Mobile Field Force was deployed to form a protective wall to move the crowd back so council members could get out safely.

Police said the crowd moved back to City Hall, where they blocked 3rd St.

After warning the group several times that it was unlawful to sit or stand in the road, police arrested the following five people.

  • Zachary Alan Ulrich, 30
  • Jarod David Nizen, 22
  • Brandon Zachary Odeh, 25
  • Israel Alexander Sorenson, 28
  • Christopher Steven Haynes, 31

All five were charged with Impeding Traffic and Failure to Disperse on Command, and received a $1,000 unsecured bond.

In the midst of the arrests, one person was sprayed with pepper spray after shoving a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy.

After the arrests, the crowd moved back to the sidewalk. Law enforcement officers then left the area.