Clean up begins after night of looting, fires and vandalism in Raleigh, Fayetteville
Anger boiled over in more than a dozen cities Friday, with some protesters smashing windows, setting vehicles ablaze and clashing with officers. On Saturday, peaceful protests have started across North Carolina in cities like Durham, Fayetteville and Raleigh.Posted — Updated
Tonight, protesters in Fayetteville and Raleigh have grown unsettled--and, in some cases, violent. A historic building was set on fire and vandalized, police cars are being smashed, flag were burned. Protesters have thrown bottles and other items at officers. By the end of the night, it was unclear if the looters and people causing property damage were part of the original protests at all.
Protests began peacefully on Saturday afternoon. Cities all across North Carolina had protests. In the Triangle, thousands marched in Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville chanting: "No justice, no peace."
These protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday. Former police officer Derek Chauvin has since been charged for third-degree murder and manslaughter after a video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck until he couldn't breath went viral.
Some of Floyd's last words, "I can't breathe" were chanted in the streets of downtown Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville. His words were also spray-painted along buildings throughout the cities. Protesters in Durham carried a large white sheet with those words through the streets of downtown Durham yesterday afternoon.
What you need to know:
- Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin tweeted a statement: "Raleigh is better than this, and that's evidenced in the fact that our community is already coming together to help clean up." Baldwin and Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown will hold a news conference on Sunday morning.
- Several fires started in downtown Raleigh between Fayetteville Street and Moore Square last night, where crowds gathered and riding around on the top of cars.
- "Almost every window down on Fayetteville Street is broken," said WRAL reporter Keely Arthur.
- People looted downtown Raleigh, broke into multiple businesses and set a fire in the CVS on Hargett Street and Fayetteville Street.
- Looters broke into Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville and appear to be going in and out of the JC Penney. Police arrived on the scene last night.
- Downtown Fayetteville is closed to all citizens.
- The Market House, where many protesters in Fayetteville gathered today, was set on fire and windows were smashed. Protesters added more fuel to the fire and threw wood pallets to encourage a larger fire in the Market House
- The protest in downtown Raleigh yesterday afternoon became heated between police and some members of the crowd. Some of the Raleigh police were in riot gear and shot tear gas to combat the protesters.
- The protest began around 5 p.m. Thousands of protesters were chanting, marching, carrying signs and sharing emotional speeches.
- Protests began in Durham around 1 p.m., where hundreds are gathered on East Chapel Hill Street and Morris Street to protest in solidarity with Floyd. These protests remained peaceful and are now over.
- In Fayetteville, protesters are still marching after several hours of carrying signs and listening to emotional speeches. The group marched down Skibo Road.
- Gov. Cooper tweeted: "I am in continuing contact with Emergency Management leaders about violence occurring in some of our cities. Frustrating that planned peaceful protests about real systemic racism are marred. I am grateful for those seeking justice peacefully."
- Mitch Colvin, the mayor of Fayetteville, joined with the peaceful protests.
- Mark-Anthony Middleton, on the Durham City Council, was also at the protests in Durham.
The governor said he's authorized 450 guard members, and that they're available by requests from local officials. At his 4 p.m. press conference, Cooper said Raleigh and Charlotte had requested help.
The governor said at least some of these guard members are trained in civil disturbance response.
"If you are already here, please limit your help to just picking up trash and staying out of way of businesses. Do not go near glass or graffiti. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing," a post from their Facebook says.
"Raleigh's better than this," she said.
4 a.m.: An Academy Sports in Fayetteville on Skibo Road was damaged during last night's protests.
Chief Deck-Brown said the protests began as a peaceful gathering, expressing their heartfelt frustration with issues regarding the Minneapolis police and local police issues. She said she readily supports and accommodates their right to protest.
However, she said they will not turn a blind eye to individuals who broke store windows, looted and set fires. She said they will not tolerate those acts, nor people who sow discord where others seek to sow open discourse.
"We are a community are better than this," she said.
"I'm speechless," said Nikaya Swain. "I had people calling me saying 'Your job's on fire.'"
"This is my place of work. This is how I help my family pay bills. This is how I help my mom pay the bills. This is how we put food in our house."
May 30, 2020 Protest updates:
She also said she supports the protests, but from her home she is able to hear glass shattering as people break into local family-owned businesses.
She said she hopes people starting fires and causing property damage remember that some of these buildings aren't empty--they're full of families who live in the apartments above these places that are being set on fire.
The crowd size seems to be several hundred people, and seem to be growing in aggression.
Protesters reportedly went inside the building carrying a can of gasoline. They set fire inside the building and took a baseball bat to shatter the windows.
As the Sheriff of Durham County I support their right to assemble to express their outage in a peaceful manner. The fact they did so while also expressing their love for all humanity indicates we can make the needed changes happen together," Birkhead wrote.
Hundreds of protesters have also gathered in cities like New York and Minneapolis, where so far the protests have remained peaceful today.
He expressed his wishes for the protests to remain peaceful, saying, "The protests around the country offer a space for people to make their voices heard, but they must happen without violence and further loss of life."
The crowd in Durham had many families and children, and many are wearing black. People marching are chanting: "No justice, no peace."
Through the streets, demonstrators carry a sign that reads: "I can't breathe."
These are the words that Floyd said in his last couple minutes -- caught on video -- while a Minneapolis police office knelt on Floyd's neck. Floyd died in police custody. The former officer Derek Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The protest started with a few people and escalated quickly as people joined the protest on the streets. People interviewed were in tears while protesting on the streets.
"We're angry and we're tired," a protestor said. "How long does this have to go on?"
"Brothers of all colors are just tired," the protestor said.
Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton was among one of the protestors. He said he was pleased with the "low-profile" the police in Durham have taken today.
"This is a peaceable demonstration. Folk are hurting, folk are angry," he said.
"The police that police Durham know that this is Durham," Middleton said. "They know we're going to show up, they know we are going to raise our voices. They know we are going to come together in times of triumph and in tragedy and collectively celebrate, and collectively heal."
Mayor of Fayetteville Mitch Colvin said he is joining the peaceful protests in Fayetteville today on Skibo Road.
"It is my hope and prayer that we will have a peaceful expression of our frustration and make a firm commitment to change," Colvin said.
Faisal Khan, one of the organizer's of Raleigh's protest, spoke to WRAL. He said he wants reform in police departments across the country, including the Raleigh Police. He also said these departments need to be more proactive in their community outreach and wants reform in how police deal with minority groups. Khan hopes between 300 to 1,000 people attend today's protest.
Khan also was worried about the coronavirus, but said "desperate times call for desperate measures."
The organizers of the protests in Raleigh said they are hoping to come together "in solidarity with a peaceful non-violent protest to have our voices heard in response to the ongoing police excessive force and police militarization in the US and demand immediate criminal law reform."
A statement from the protesters also said that the police in North Carolina have "never carried out their duty to keep everyone safe" and that law enforcement "bring more violence and fear to our communities by arresting, beating and ultimately murdering us."
Information about the Charlotte protests
As protesters gather in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Charlotte and other cities across the US, frustration continues to grow over the death of George Floyd. For many organizers, it's about more than the death about one man, but about racial inequality across the country.
"There are a lot of things that need to change for us to move forward, but I think everybody needs to be honest about what the real problems are," Ottley told CNN affiliate WCCB-TV. "How many times can you address the same issue and see nothing change."
"I've been talking to several of my black friends the last day or two and hearing what they're going through. A lot of introspection and recognizing that I don't put my money where my mouth is enough. Basically, I was there because they were there, if that makes sense.
"I couldn't keep waiting for there to be something more immediate in my life that got me out there. It can't be about me; otherwise, it won't work. I needed to step up my advocacy. I showed myself more of what I was capable of tonight and it helped me connect to purpose for why I should protest. As uncomfortable as I may have been, not everyone gets to walk away from the situation just because it's uncomfortable... Until you're there looking someone in the eye, you're not connecting with them as fully as you should."
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, made a statement on her twitter about Friday night's protests: "This is painful for all of us."
- In Nashville, where a 10 p.m. curfew was set and Mayor John Cooper declared a state of civil emergency, officers used tear gas to disperse a crowd that turned violent. Protestors set Nashville's historic courthouse on fire, according to police, and several businesses were damaged.
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