The latest in the George Floyd riot: Atlanta and other cities plan to extend curfew

Terrel Ransom, center, store manager for Buffalo Exchange walks over clothes in the damaged store, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles, following a night of unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Latest on the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

 

Atlanta’s mayor extended a curfew another night Sunday and Georgia’s governor authorized up to 3,000 National Guard troops to be deployed across the state to respond if needed to protests over the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

Guard soldiers had helped enforce a 9 p.m. curfew Saturday in Atlanta, where violence has marred otherwise peaceful protests since Friday. Gov. Brian Kemp said more would be ready Sunday for demonstrations planned in Athens, Savannah and other cities.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order Sunday extending the curfew in the city, according to text and email notifications sent to residents. It takes effect at 9 p.m. Sunday and will end at sunrise Monday.

Atlanta police said Sunday they had arrested more than 150 people overnight as protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area. That brought the total number of arrests over two nights of protests to nearly 230.

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Officials in Philadelphia announced plans to close off much of the center of the city Sunday after peaceful protests over George Floyd’s death turned into a night of destruction with store windows smashed near City Hall, merchandise taken from stores and police and other vehicles and structures set afire.

But television news helicopter footage Sunday afternoon showed people running into multiple stores in northeast Philadelphia, well outside the city center, and emerging with merchandise as disorder continued for a second day elsewhere in the city.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said much of Center City would be blocked off, affecting roads, bridges and expressway entrances and exits as well as the city’s transit agency. The Ben Franklin bridge between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, was closed until further notice.

An 8 p.m. curfew in the city announced earlier was moved up to 6 p.m. Sunday, and retail establishments were ordered to close immediately with people cleaning or securing vandalized properties ordered to finish up and return home by 5 p.m. so the curfew could be enforced.

WCAU-TV showed live aerial shots for more than an hour Sunday afternoon of people running from store to store in strip malls in northeast Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section, emerging with armfuls of merchandise as police units tried to keep up.

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SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s mayor and police chief said Sunday the city’s 8 p.m. curfew will be extended indefinitely and that people who are out after that time will be stopped.

Mayor London Breed said Gov. Gavin Newsom had approved sending in about 200 extra officers from other agencies.

Breed, who grew up in San Francisco, expressed sadness about the destruction but said she was not going to tolerate the violence. She said the fire department was inundated with calls because of fires and medical emergencies and had fire bombs thrown at them.

“In watching the videos, I was extremely upset because unfortunately with some of the vandals, they thought this was a game, they thought this was funny. And this is not funny. To damage property, to set fires that could lead to someone else’s death, to do the kinds of things that destroy and tear down our city as a symbol of what is going on … this is not who we are. We should not be OK with this.”

She said there were a lot of juveniles among the protesters: “So parents, where are your kids? Where are your kids?”

Police Chief Bill Scott said he sympathized with the message of the peaceful protests.

“As an African American man, I think I know probably more than most how it feels. I know both sides of this equation. We’re seeing violence across the country, we’re seeing peaceful protests across the county … We do hear you. We do hear you. Your mayor hears you, your chief of police hears you, the San Francisco Police Department hears you,” Scott said.

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BERLIN — England winger Jadon Sancho joined protests across German soccer at the weekend by lifting his jersey after scoring to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten message “Justice for George Floyd” on the front.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck.

Sancho was shown a yellow card for his gesture which came after he scored the second goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

Earlier, Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.

The Gladbach forward scored in the first half and then dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh as he bowed his head in reflection. He spent 5 seconds in this position before getting up again to continue.

“No explanation needed,” Gladbach said on Twitter with a picture of Thuram kneeling.

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WASHINGTON — The mayor of the nation’s capital said Sunday that violence and vandalism from the previous night’s protests were committed by “an organized group that appeared more bent on destruction than protest.”

Muriel Bowser also acknowledged what she described as the legitimate grievances of the peaceful protesters, incensed over the death of George Floyd and other black Americans killed in altercations with police officers.

Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham toured the city around 3 a.m. Sunday, assessing dozens of broken windows, damaged storefronts and a few looted shops.

In a news conference Sunday, Newsham said 17 protesters were arrested and he expected more arrests as police go over security camera footage.

Three Secret Service vehicles were damaged and one police officer had a broken leg from a thrown rock. A contingent of 500 members of the D.C. National Guard remain on standby and will continue to be deployed to assist local security, Bowser said.

“We always in Washington, D.C., welcome peaceful protests. It’s necessary in an American society,” Newsham said. “We are hoping and urging participants to be peaceful. We are hoping that cooler heads will prevail.”

Saturday’s protests took place one day after Bowser had ended a three-month old stay-home order and launched the first phase of the District of Columbia’s reopening plan.

Bowser said Sunday she was “very concerned” that the protests in Washington and elsewhere could provide fertile ground for a new series of outbreaks. Many of the protesters were wearing masks but there were no attempts at social distancing.

“We’ve been working very hard in these last eight to 10 weeks to not have any mass gatherings,” she said. “As a nation, we have to be concerned about a rebound.”

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PETAL, Miss. — A white Mississippi mayor who caused an outrage with his tweets about the death George Floyd in Minneapolis has apologized but said he won’t resign.

Petal Mayor Hal Marx told the Hattiesburg American he apologies for offending anyone but said his remarks weren’t racist.

At least 200 people protested outside City Hall in Petal on Friday to call for Marx’s resignation. The city council also called for the mayor to step down.

Marx tweeted Tuesday that he “didn’t see anything unreasonable” about the Minneapolis officers’ actions before Floyd died. He also tweeted: “If you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack.”

Marx told the newspaper in an interview Saturday his words “were made in haste and not well-thought out or expressed.”

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

But Marx also said he will serve out his term that ends in July 2021. He added: “I did not make racist comments and I have not mistreated anyone.”

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A third night of protests in Louisville sparked by the police shooting of a black woman resulted in 37 arrests, a city official said Sunday.

Chief of Public Safety Amy Hess said at a news conference that officials did not yet know the hometowns of those arrested. Hess said a total of 10 people were arrested during protests Thursday and Friday.

Mayor Greg Fischer added that five Louisville police officers were shot at late Saturday night. None were hit, but three officers were in a car that was struck by at least one bullet, he said.

Fischer said a dusk-to-dawn curfew would continue Sunday night for a second straight night in Kentucky’s largest city.

Louisville’s protests followed the release of a 911 call by shooting victim Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend made March 13, moments after the 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door.

No drugs were found in her home. Taylor’s death has captured national headlines alongside the killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February and George Floyd, the black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state-wide disaster Sunday following weekend protests that have turned violent and destructive.

In Texas, much of the demonstrating was peaceful, but the protests became violent Saturday with fires being lit, stores broken into and robbed and people hurt.

Police used tear gas to disperse some of the crowds and said they arrested more than 200 people between Dallas, Houston and Austin.

“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.

“However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss.

The order allows Abbott to designate federal agents to do the work of local police. It comes as some Texas organizers are calling off demonstrations and others are planning to proceed.

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COLUMBIA S.C. — Some protesters threw rocks at police and set fire to at least two police cars, ignoring pleas from fellow demonstrators to refrain from violence.

On Sunday morning, crews at businesses throughout the downtown commercial district swept up broken glass and affixed sheets of plywood to busted-out windows and doors.

During a news conference in Columbia later Sunday, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott — who, as the only black Republican in the Senate, has previously given a series of speeches on race, including his numerous experiences getting pulled over by police — referenced the 2015 death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black South Carolina motorist shot to death by a white police officer during a traffic stop in North Charleston.

Sen. Scott said that, as in the Floyd case, that incident was captured on video, but resulted in only nonviolent protests.

“We cannot have distractions especially fueled by violence,” Scott said. “Protesters, be heard, be seen, but be orderly.”

At that same news conference, Gov. Henry McMaster said the National Guard was on alert to activate if needed, urging protesters to take action but stay peaceful.

“We welcome conversation. We welcome protest, people speaking their mind, we welcome it, and we welcome it every time,” McMaster said “We’re better because of it, but we do not tolerate violence.”

Several cities in South Carolina remained under curfew, including Columbia’s downtown area. On Sunday, the mayor of Myrtle Beach instituted a “state of civil emergency” in that city due to the threat of possible unrest.

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has instituted a curfew beginning Sunday.

It starts at 8 p.m. and extends to 5 a.m. Duggan told reporters Sunday that the curfew “isn’t intended for Detroiters.”

City officials are hoping the curfew keeps people who don’t live in Detroit from coming into the city instigating violence during the protests. The curfew doesn’t apply to people going and coming home from work. City buses will be operating.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lighfoot says access to downtown is restricted to only to residents and essential workers and the National Guard will have a presence in the city as officials seek to stem violence arising from demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd.

Lightfoot again Sunday praised peaceful protesters, saying she stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with those condemning Floyd’s death after Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck during an arrest earlier this week.

But she said that in order to protect the city, the state has agreed to dispatch “a contingent of the National Guard” to take up a “limited presence.”

She says bus and train service to the downtown Loop is temporarily suspended. Drawbridges that span several stretches of the Chicago River in and out of the area are raised to limit vehicle access.

And Lightfoot says a citywide 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will remain in effect indefinitely. Officials say there were 240 arrests Saturday night and early Sunday, and that six people were shot, one fatally, in the Loop during a four-hour span Saturday evening.

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LOS ANGELES — Armed National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets of Los Angeles on Sunday as the city began cleaning up after a night of violence that saw demonstrators clash repeatedly with officers, torch police vehicles and pillage businesses.

Fire crews responded to dozens of blazes, and scores of businesses were damaged. One of the hardest-hit areas was around the Grove, a popular high-end outdoor mall west of downtown where hundreds of protesters swarmed the neighborhood, showering police with rocks and other objects and vandalizing shops. One officer suffered a fractured skull, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said.

Windows were shattered at nearly every shop along a stretch of Melrose Avenue. At Tony K’s Shoe Store, owner Alan Kokozian said his entire product stock was either stolen or damaged.

Kokozian said he was hit in the head with a flying bottle as he pleaded with looters to spare his establishment Saturday evening.

“This was not a political protest. This was basically a bunch of thieves getting together taking advantage of a situation,” Kokozian said Sunday as he surveyed the hole in his roof caused by fire.

Security camera footage showed a swarm of people shattering the front window of DTLA Smoke Shop in downtown Los Angeles early Saturday. Within a minute they had emptied the store’s shelves and fled.

“I’m so angry. I’m so angry. You know, it’s my life, I put everything into it,” owner Natali Mishali told KCAL-TV. “I’m for speaking for human rights. I believe in that. I’m very passionate about that. This is just an excuse to steal.”

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WASHINGTON — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she doesn’t have confidence in the U.S. Justice Department to fully investigate the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia as a civil rights crime.

Bottoms tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” she is hopeful that appropriate charges will be brought and prosecuted if not by the Justice Department then the state of Georgia.

Arbery was killed Feb. 23 when a white father and son armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old black man after spotting him running in their neighborhood. More than two months passed before Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.

Bottoms said Sunday: “I don’t have faith in this Justice Department, but if this Justice Department does what it was created to do, then justice will be served. But we also have the backstop of the state of Georgia.”

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Source: Associated Press