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'Suspicious' Substance at Protest Was Water, Antacid

Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Ore. after rallying at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Aug. 2, 2020, that remained largely peaceful without major confrontations between demonstrators and officers.

A suspicious substance that police officials implied that Black Lives Matter protesters had thrown at officers during May demonstrations turned out to be only water and antacid.

The State reported that Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Monday that a Federal Bureau of Investigation lab test confirmed the contents of the water bottles.

The confirmed contents of the bottles track with what protesters said after the demonstrations — that the substance inside was a harmless formula to lessen the effects of tear gas. Protesters had said the bottle had just water and baking soda, the latter of which can be used as an antacid.

Law enforcement officials issued a press release in June announcing the discovery of "suspicious water bottles" at the scene.

Asked if the results from the FBI lab changed his stance, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said through a spokeswoman: "We had officers that sustained burns from liquids that were thrown on them during the riot.