/George Floyd protests continue nationwide as hundreds arrested, cities begin issuing curfews

George Floyd protests continue nationwide as hundreds arrested, cities begin issuing curfews

Thousands of protesters participated in dozens of demonstrations nationwide Saturday, a day after a Minneapolis police officer was arrested and charged with the third-degree murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.

Former officer Derek Chauvin faces the charges, which activist groups say are inadequate. Video from a bystander showed Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

The demonstrations Saturday were part of a National Day of Protest against Chauvin and police brutality inflicted nationwide. Protesters also called out the names of other people of color killed by police, including Louisville’s Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old ER tech who was shot and killed by police in March.

Here is a city-by-city look at what’s happening across the country.

Nashville: Fires at courthouse and City Hall building

Fires in Nashville led Mayor John Cooper to declare a state of civil emergency. Police announced a 10 p.m. curfew for the city, and Gov. Bill Lee deployed the National Guard. 

Dozens of protesters had gathered on the steps of Nashville’s criminal courthouse and City Hall after a rally and march. Demonstrators smashed windows with rocks and other materials, drawing a swarm of police. The situation at the building appeared to subside around 7:30 p.m.

By 8:15 p.m., fire was visible from a first-floor office at the courthouse. A short time later, police with riot gear arrived as a fire burned inside a window at City Hall. Officers deployed tear gas as demonstrators clustered in the center of Public Square Park.

— Staff of The Tennessean 

Chicago: Mayor announces curfew

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a curfew for the city, effective between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered downtown at Federal Plaza on Saturday afternoon for a demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter. Protesters chanted “Say his name, George Floyd” and “Say her name, Breonna Taylor” as drivers honked their horns. Some held signs saying “Black lives matter” and “Liberty and justice for all.”

At least two police vehicles were covered in spray paint.

Protesters reported seeing demonstrators being arrested outside Trump Tower as the group marched north through downtown. After passing Trump Tower, thousands of protesters took a knee in silence. A spokesperson for Chicago police said he was not immediately able to provide an update. 

The Chicago Transit Authority temporarily suspended train services to downtown.

— Grace Hauck and Jordan Culver, USA TODAY 

New York City: Videos show fire, vehicle’s confrontation with crowd

Hundreds of protesters walked against traffic in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, temporarily stalling vehicles on 7th Ave. The group chanted: “No justice, no peace” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”

Late Saturday, videos circulated on social media that appeared to show a police vehicle driving into a crowd of protesters. Other video showed at least one vehicle on fire.

An initially peaceful demonstration in the city had spiraled into chaos Friday, as protesters skirmished with police officers, destroyed police vehicles and set fires.

Video posted to social media on Friday showed officers using batons and shoving protesters as they took people into custody and cleared streets. One video showed an officer slam a woman to the ground as he walked past her.

Detroit: Mostly peaceful after Friday night’s death

Saturday, in the light of day, the protesting crowd appeared to be mostly peaceful, with police following marching protesters closely and even handing out masks, a coronavirus precaution, to those who did not have them.

Crowds began to gather at about 4:30 p.m. Most wore masks, and many carried signs, some with angry slogans. By about 8 p.m., and just after a moment of tension between protesters and police, the crowd began to disperse, with a few folks saying they’d be back again for a third day of demonstrations at 4 p.m. Sunday.

One person spray-painted a brick wall: “NO JUSTICE. NO PEACE.”

On Friday, a 21-year-old male from Eastpointe was been fatally shot near a protest in downtown Detroit when he was approached by an unknown suspect while in his vehicle, police said. Friday night’s protest had at least 60 arrests. 

— David Jesse, JC Reindl, Branden Hunter and Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press

Indianapolis: Officers fire tear gas at protesters

Police told protesters late Saturday they were subject to arrest for unlawful assembly and should “disperse immediately.”

“This is no longer a lawful assembly. You are subject to arrest,” an officer told protesters. 

A reporter at the scene saw 10 officers and four police cars. Most were wearing gas masks and standing still. One protester threw a water bottle at an officer, and several others followed.

Officers then began firing tear gas.

On Friday, of the more than 200 estimated to be demonstrating, 27 had been arrested, Police Chief Randal Taylor said, and at least 30 businesses sustained some sort of damage, including a CVS store that sustained fire damage.

Five police vehicles were damaged and three officers were injured, he said. Three civilians were also injured.

— Staff of The Indianapolis Star

Washington: Protests escalate near White House, Trump warns against ‘mob violence’

Protesters clashed with police outside the White House Saturday, as tensions flared there for a second day. 

Protesters marched and chanted “No justice! No peace!” and “I can’t breathe!” – a phrase Floyd was heard saying before his death – in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House and along surrounding streets. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., stood with peaceful protesters outside the White House during the afternoon.

Protesters stood facing a line of police wearing helmets and holding shields, the officers with their backs to the White House. At times, some protesters tried to knock over barriers or attacked officers around the White House perimeter, although none scaled the surrounding fence, according to the Secret Service. “Multiple” special agents and uniformed officers were injured when some protesters threw bricks, rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers, officials said.

President Donald Trump attended the historic SpaceX rocket launch in Florida during the afternoon, but was flying back to Washington by 6 p.m. He used an address at the Kennedy Space Center to offer a stern warning against violence by “rioters, looters and anarchists.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted Saturday that the city’s police department would protect everyone, regardless of whether the mayor agreed with them.

— Nicholas Wu, David Jackson, Courtney Subramanian and John Fritze, USA TODAY

Jacksonville, Florida: Peaceful march turns violent, officer injured

Violence erupted in Jacksonville’s downtown Saturday night, after thousands of people earlier marched peacefully on police headquarters in protest against law enforcement abuses of force.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said one officer had been hospitalized after being “slashed in the neck.”

Broken glass and damage to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office vehicles were reported, as was the firing of tear gas. Police urged people not already downtown Saturday night to stay away from the area.

— Teresa Stepzinski and Garry Smits, Florida Times-Union

Attorney General Barr: Peaceful protests ‘hijacked’ by ‘far-left extremist groups’

Attorney General William Barr said violent protests that have erupted after the death of George Floyd appear to be organized by “anarchic” and “far-left extremist groups” pursuing their own aims. 

Addressing “rioting” in many cities, Barr said: “The voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements.”

“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” he said. “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and … far-left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.”

— Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

Philadelphia: Officers injured, peaceful protests turn chaotic

Charred cars, one lying flipped on its roof in a pile of ashes, lined John F. Kennedy Blvd. Saturday night as the city started to clean up after peaceful protests gave way to a fiery afternoon. 

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said 13 police officers were injured in protests that resulted in property damage and several burned cars. 

By the 8 p.m. curfew set by Philadelphia police, the large crowds had mostly dispersed. Dozens of officers stood in a line at the municipal services building, steps away from where at least one of the department’s cars was burned.

Just hours before, hundreds flooded City Hall, damaging cars and spraypainting messages on buildings, vehicles and the city block.

— Phaedra Trethan and Jeff Neiburg, Cherry Hill Courier-Post

Montgomery, Alabama: Largely peaceful protests at precinct, Capitol

Dozens gathered Saturday afternoon in front of a Montgomery police precinct before a gathering at the Capitol, where law enforcement blocked off traffic for a rally that lasted more than two hours. 

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed on Friday called Floyd’s death a “lynching” in a virtual town hall before asking for a moment of silence for him at an afternoon press conference.

Police Chief Ernest Finley also spoke, calling Floyd’s death “very disturbing.”

— Melissa Brown, Montgomery Advertiser

Los Angeles: Looting and destruction mount, mayor sets curfew

Looting and property destruction mounted Saturday in Los Angeles as police worked to disperse protesters after the third evening of mass demonstrations. City Mayor Eric Garcetti set a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. throughout the whole city.

Police set up skirmish lines throughout the downtown area and fired non-lethal ammunition in at least one incident, City News Service reported.

Protesters looted several downtown businesses, including a Target store, a Rite Aid, a Starbucks and jewelry stores near Sixth Street and Broadway. Fires were ignited near the intersection of Hill and Seventh Street, and in one case, a person threw the hose being used by a firefighter into a smoldering fire.

Garcetti urged residents to go home.

“When things burn, it is not the time to stay,” he said. Taking part in civil unrest, he added, does a disservice to the memory of George Floyd.

He noted Los Angeles has seen unrest over racial issues before, a nod to the Watts Riots in 1965 and the disturbance after the Rodney King verdict that exonerated the police officers who were videotaped beating him in 1992.

— Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

Seattle: ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted Saturday he activated 200 members of the state’s National Guard. 

“The National Guard is on stand by to assist the Seattle Police Department as requested by Mayor Durkan,” Inslee said in a statement. “They will be unarmed and assist with infrastructure protection and crowd movement. They will only be utilized if absolutely necessary and we appreciate their efforts to help in this important work.”

Hundreds of people gathered outside Seattle Police Department headquarters midday Saturday, where speakers from the NAACP and ACLU spoke to the crowd. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” the group chanted.

Atlanta: 9 p.m. curfew established

Georgia’s governor declared a state of emergency early Saturday to activate the state National Guard. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order Saturday establishing a 9 p.m. curfew “as a result of the recent acts of violence demonstrated throughout the city.” 

The curfew ends at sunrise Sunday. 

Brian Kemp tweeted that up to 500 members of the Guard would deploy immediately “to protect people & property in Atlanta.” He said he acted at the request of Bottoms, who earlier appealed for calm.

At least three officers were hurt and there were multiple arrests in Friday’s protests, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said.

— Associated Press

Pittsburgh: Protests become ‘volatile’ 

Pittsburgh police deployed gas on a group of thousands of demonstrators Saturday after a peaceful protest against turned destructive.

Pittsburgh Public Safety declared the situation an unlawful assembly.

“This follows repeated acts of violence, property damage and looting of businesses, which is ongoing. Residents please stay home. Businesses should close. If you are Downtown, leave the area,” officials tweeted.

Pittsburgh Public Safety tweeted just before 6 p.m. that police had deployed gas after the protest became “volatile.”

— Daveen Rae Kurutz, The Beaver County Times

Petal, Mississippi: Mayor sorry for comments, won’t resign

Petal Mayor Hal Marx said he apologizes that comments he made have caused so much pain to the city he leads and its people, but he denies his comments were racist, and says he won’t resign.

Marx came under fire Tuesday when he tweeted he “didn’t see anything unreasonable” in the incident that led to the death of George Floyd. 

“I admit that my comments on the recent tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota were made in haste and not well-thought out or expressed,” he said. “Because of this, my words were taken out of the context in which they were meant. For that, I apologize.

“I apologize to those who found them to be insensitive, and I apologize to the people of our city.”

— Lici Beveridge, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Providence, Rhode Island: A chorus of 1,000 voices

A chorus of nearly 1,000 voices shouted Floyd’s name from the State House lawn on Saturday.

“I’m tired of watching young black, brown, beautiful people dying,” said Gary Dantzler, an activist with Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, the group that organized Saturday’s rally. “White supremacy, we gotta end it.”

– Madeleine List, Providence Journal

Lake Worth Beach, Florida: No violence

Shouting “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” about 250 demonstrators stopped traffic downtown on Saturday in a march that joined nationwide demonstrations seeking justice for Floyd’s death.

Unlike rallies that have turned violent in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, the march down Lake Avenue from Bryant Park to City Hall was orderly and largely peaceful.

– Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post

Sarasota, Florida: Teens decorate cars

At Sarasota City Hall, about 30 masked protesters from teens to seniors decorated their cars with messages condemning police brutality in light of Floyd’s death. 

Emily Wunderlich, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Peoria, Illinois: ‘Fired up! Ready to go!’

A crowd of a few hundred marched for about a mile and a half in Peoria on Saturday afternoon, from the riverfront to the city’s police station and the courthouse, alternating call-and-response slogans, including “No justice, no peace; no racist police” and “Fired up! Ready to go!”

Most attendees wore masks or other face coverings, which organizers urged to abide by the state’s standing public health orders. 

The peaceful demonstration of just more than two hours included participants chanting not only Floyd’s name, but also the names of Peoria men Eddie Russell Jr. and Luis Cruz, who were killed in police-involved shootings over the past three years.

Minneapolis: National Guard moves downtown

The National Guard started moving into downtown Minneapolis on Saturday. The governor of Minnesota said he would be “fully mobilizing” the National Guard after overnight protests that he said were no longer about Floyd’s death but rather an “attack” on civil society by people who were not from the community.

“The situation in Minnesota is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cites,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a press conference.

— Trevor Hughes and Jordan Culver, USA TODAY

New Orleans: ‘We are here in solidarity’

A crowd of close to 1,000 people gathered in heat at noon across the street from New Orleans City Hall carrying signs that read “No Justice No Peace” and “Say his name! George Floyd.” Within thirty minutes groups of people clustered across the park preparing to march out in three rows through the streets of downtown to the New Orleans Police headquarters several blocks away. 

“I’m here to make them see we are here with Minneapolis — we are here in solidarity as a community,” said Andrew Miragliotta, who went to the rally with his wife Jenna Miragliotta. As organizers started leading the crowd in a chant of “No Justice No Peace”, Jenna Miragliottta said, “white silence is perpetuating this and it keeps happening. We are bringing our bodies, our voices to support and show up. Visibility matters.” 

The crowd was organized in three rows in an effort to social distance during the march. Most people wore masks. 

– Maria Clark, The American South

Denver: 19 arrests

Police announced 19 arrests Saturday in Denver amid Floyd protests.

Visalia, California: ‘This is America’

Hundreds of protesters – from toddlers to adults – lined a highway, chanting “Black lives matter” and holding signs that said “justice for George Floyd” and “we will be the change.” One protester brought a portable speaker and played Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” Cars honked as they drove past.

– Vongni Yang, The Visalia Times Delta

Cincinnati: Curfew imposed

Cincinnati’s worst night of civil unrest in almost two decades gave way Saturday to calls for peaceful protests and an end to violence.

But even as businesses cleaned up the damage caused by vandals and looters Friday, police and city officials braced for the possibility of more trouble. Mayor John Cranley said the city will impose a 10 p.m. curfew Saturday and Sunday in an effort to tamp down unrest.

“We believe it’s prudent,” Cranley said of the curfew. “We will get through this.”

— Dan Horn, Sharon Coolidge, Madeline Mitchell and Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati Enquirer

Columbus: Daytime protests more peaceful

For the third straight day, protesters converged on downtown Columbus to demonstrate over Floyd’s death. Saturday’s daytime protest drew more people — at least an estimated 2,000 — but was more peaceful than Friday night, when windows of many businesses were broken and protesters faced off with police until the early morning hours.

— By Lucas Sullivan, Beth Burger, Marc Kovac, The Columbus Dispatch

Rochester: ‘For over 400 years, we have been in pain’

Hundreds marched to the Public Safety Building in downtown Rochester on Saturday to honor victims of police brutality. Organizers asked participants to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Four hundred years ago, a lie got told — the lie of white superiority and black inferiority,” said Melanie Funchess, the Director of Community Engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County. “For over 400 years, we have been in pain.” 

Some members of the crowd spray painted poles and other objects along the way; their actions were later denounced by organizers of the event. Rochester Police were present at the rally, but did not intervene. Some were armed and carried shields.

– Sarah Taddeo, USA TODAY Network

Dallas: Public Safety troops deployed

Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed the state’s Department of Public Safety troops to help local police departments with protests in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Greenville, S.C.: Organizers encourage unity

More than 200 people gathered in Greenville on Saturday morning for a peaceful protest.

Dalores Bowens, one of the organizers, said the goal of the protest is to highlight the risks that black people, and others, face at times from police. But the big aim, she said, is to encourage unity and have a peaceful expression of anger and frustration.

– Mike Ellis, Eric Connor and Sarah Sheridan, Greenville News

Louisville: National Guard called after downtown vandalized

After a trail of vandalism across much of downtown Louisville, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced he’d send the National Guard to Louisville, calling it a step to “ensure the safety of everybody” and “help keep peace.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Greg Fischer said he is implementing a dusk-to-dawn curfew for future protests against the fatal police shooting of Taylor in March.

“What we have seen, especially last night, and what our intelligence says is going to happen tonight are outside groups moving in, trying to create violence to harm everybody who is on those streets,” said Beshear. “We cannot let Breonna’s legacy be marred by violence and we can’t let our streets turn violent.”

— Darcy Costello, Louisville Courier-Journal

Madison and Milwaukee: Tear gas disperses crowds

Gov. Tony Evers on Saturday authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to help respond to protests in Milwaukee, saying 125 guard members were made immediately available to local law enforcement.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced a 9 p.m. curfew for the city Saturday. Barrett did not say if the curfew will extend past Saturday.

“We have to get control of our city tonight,” Barrett said. “We will have the curfew tonight, the National Guard tonight, and then we can reevaluate tomorrow. I think we want to be as prudent as we can be. We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect the people who live in this community.”

Demonstrations in Milwaukee escalated to violence overnight, with police using tear gas to disperse crowds and several stores vandalized and looted.

More than a dozen businesses were damaged and about 50 people were arrested overnight Friday, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Saturday in a news release. A Milwaukee police officer suffered a minor gunshot wound during the protests.

— Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel staff

Memphis: Megaphone shared with crowd

Peaceful protests are expected to continue Saturday evening, likely mirroring Friday’s 300-person protest.

The Friday gathering had a decidedly different energy than the two days prior, which were fraught with anger.

Rather than one person leading call-and-response style chants, Memphis pastor and activist DeVante Hill shared his megaphone with people in the crowd, giving anyone who wanted a chance to address the crowd.

Some people shared stories about their own fraught interactions with police. One woman sang to the crowd. One man simply asked the crowd to say out loud that Black Lives Matter.

— Desiree Stennett, Micaela A. Watts and Laura Testino, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Portland: State of emergency

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a state of emergency Saturday morning after protests in the city intensified.

The state of emergency includes a curfew on Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. and running through 6 a.m. Sunday.

“Burning buildings with people inside, stealing from small and large businesses, threatening and harassing reporters,” he tweeted early Saturday morning. “This isn’t calling for meaningful change in our communities, this is disgusting.”

Tallahassee, Florida: Truck hits protesters

Scattered and largely peaceful demonstrations Saturday in Tallahassee were marred when a pickup truck allegedly hit a group of protesters.

Three white people in a red pickup truck with a Georgia license plate yelled at a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, then drove into the crowd, witnesses said. Some wound up on the hood of the car and may have shattered the windshield.

Tallahassee Mayor John E. Dailey later tweeted that “no one was seriously injured” and the driver of the vehicle was “immediately taken into custody.” 

— Nada Hassanein, Jeff Burlew and James Call, Tallahassee Democrat

Wilmington, Delaware: Protesters block traffic

In Wilmington, Delaware, dozens of protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 95. Delaware State Police temporarily closed the interstate around 2 p.m. ET. At least one protester could be seen smashing the window of a police SUV, according to videos posted on social media.