WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A woman from Wilmington was badly injured when she got caught between police and instigators at what was a peaceful protest in San Diego.
Eryn Roberts said despite her injury, she plans to continue to protest.
"When I got injured I was actually seated right in front of a line of about cops dressed in riot gear," Roberts recalled. "I had my sign in the air and I’m not really sure what happened. I heard a commotion from behind like someone was throwing something at the cops and then I heard glass breaking and then I just heard the shots start firing."
In a Facebook live recorded by Roberts, police can be seen and heard firing pepper bullets at protesters.
A protester who identified herself as an EMT gives Roberts aid, while the commotion continues in the background.
The woman put a tourniquet on Roberts' arm. However, Roberts said she was trapped and police blocked protesters from leaving.
It was hours before she was able to get to the hospital.
"Somewhere in the chaos I got hurt," she said. "The surgeon isn’t really sure what happened because they didn’t pull anything out of the actual wound. It cut through my tricep tendon and muscle and by the time I got to the hospital a couple hours later, about three hours later, because they would not give me medical assistance, I went into emergency surgery."
Now, Roberts is in a full cast that runs from her fingers to her shoulder.
Still, she has attended protests since her surgery "because racism is still alive and well."
While Roberts moved to San Diego, she has kept up with the news out of her hometown.
"I'm sad that I’m not there to have my voice heard because I grew up in Wilmington and I experienced a lot of racism growing up," she said.
She applauded the peaceful protesters who have demonstrated outside of Wilmington's city hall for several days straight.
“I can see the impact it is having, even that petition to rename Hugh MacRae Park,” she said. “I grew up there I had birthday parties there and it was always a terrible reminder of the history of Wilmington and having that park, a public park be named after somebody of such vile reputation is shocking and it’s a shame that although Wilmington acknowledged it’s history does not do more and be more proactive to make a change.”
Roberts sees this moment in time as a turning point.
"I hope this is a lot more than just discussion because a lot of us are over talking and that’s why you see the violence happening, that’s why everyone is so angry and that’s why there’s so much emotion tied to it. We are done with talking. It’s time for action."
That message was on one of the signs Roberts carried to a protest.
“Actions speak louder than words,” her sign stated.