NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — An investigation is underway in Nevada City into what the police chief calls “outrageous” and “appalling” actions at a Black Lives Matter protest.

It happened Sunday when protesters and counter-protesters collided. What started as a peaceful protest against police brutality turned tense, and then violent.

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Ryan, a Nevada City man who did not want to share his last name, watched the two sides clashing from a tea shop.

“Before long we were surrounded, one group was on one side of the parking lot, and the other group on the other side,” he said.

Ryan says he tried to talk with a man who he says was getting violent with an elderly protestor. Video shows what happens after that when Ryan gets shoved and then a third person punched him in the face.

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“The next thing you know, I see stars, I got sucker-punched. I wasn’t there to be violent or aggressive,” said Ryan.

Ryan walked away as the fights continued.

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In a statement, Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis said three officers were present, but no arrests were made.

Byron Jones is the founder of “Back the Blue, Nevada County.” His organization is being called out as one of the groups involved in this violence.

“We don’t agree with showing up to counter-protest. We don’t agree with any aggression,” Jones said.

He says some members were present at the protest to support police, but he says they were peaceful.

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“There were people present there who had been present at our rallies, but we didn’t see them as any of the aggressors,” Jones said.

Now, the police chief is investigating who is responsible for hurting others and in some cases, even stealing and destroying their property, including cell phones. He’s asking for anyone with video of the incident to send it to the Nevada City Police Department.

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CBS13 spoke by phone with one of the counter-protestors directly involved. He calls himself a patriot and says he showed up here to defend his city from potential vandalism.

Marissa Perlman