United Kingdom

Two arrested in Ohio car full of weapons at New York rally after police tipped off by protestors

Police in New York have thanked protesters who alerted them to an Ohio-registered car which was found to be full of weapons.

Officers said they were tipped off by demonstrators in Brooklyn, who on Thursday saw a man waving a machete near a car with Ohio plates.

When police searched the car, they found knives, bricks, point-to-point radios, gas masks and gasoline.

'All types of different things that you won't bring to a peaceful protest,' said Captain Melody Robinson, 84th Precinct Executive Officer.

An Ohio-registered car seen at protests in Brooklyn was found to contain a cache of weapons

The Ohio-registered car, pictured, was searched and found to contain incendiary materials

Aaron Evanshine, 36, from Columbus, Ohio and Brian Contreras, 24, from Queens, have been arrested and charged with weapons possession.  

Capt Robinson praised the demonstrators, rallying in New York to protest against the May 25 killing of George Floyd, for their vigilance. 

'They said: "this is not right, something's wrong with this picture",' she told ABC News.

Robinson said officers quickly tracked down the car and approached the driver and his passenger, who surrendered without incident. 

Investigators are trying to determine whether the two men took part in any of this week's demonstrations, or whether they played a role in orchestrating the violence that gripped New York City for five straight nights.

In particular, officers want to know whether they participated in any of the attacks that injured members of the NYPD.  

'I commend the peaceful protesters that actually saw something and they said something,' Robinson said. 

'You know we need more of that in this city, so we can come together as one. They definitely saved lives.'

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd, in New York on Thursday. Protests have proliferated for over a week

Demonstrators in Brooklyn call for justice for George Floyd on June 4

While the vast majority of protesters were peaceful, some turned to violence. Pictured are protesters using a fire extinguisher and their bodies to stop looting on May 31 in New York

A damaged New York City auxiliary police vehicle from the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn

News of the arrests of the pair came as two NYPD officers were suspended without pay, after one was filmed violently throwing a female protester to the ground and the other was seen pulling a man's mask down to pepper spray him. 

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the suspensions on Friday, saying both cases have been referred for disciplinary action. 

Neither of the officers were identified. 

It comes amid mounting criticism of the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio over police officers' aggressive treatment of peaceful protesters, after some officers were seen moving in on people without provocation and hitting them with batons.

Videos of both incidents, which occurred during the first week of protests in the city on May 29 and May 30, were widely circulated on social media and sparked calls for the officers involved to be punished. 

In one video, one officer was seen forcefully shoving 20-year-old Dounya Zayer to the ground as she protested outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

The officer had allegedly called her a 'stupid f***ing b***h' before pushing her.

Zayer later shared updates from the hospital saying she suffered a seizure and a concussion from the attack. 

The following day, a second officer was caught on video yanking down a man's coronavirus mask to pepper spray him. 

The man had been among a massive crowd of demonstrators in Brooklyn and had been holding his hands up. 

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