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NC protests: Arrests at North Hills, Triangle Town Center as riots continue into early morning hours

Posted May 31, 2020 10:52 a.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2020 1:09 p.m. EDT

— Protests of the death of George Floyd continued into the early hours of Monday morning.

At 4:30 a.m., the National Guard remained in downtown Raleigh, where dozens were still gathered at E. Hargett Street and S. Wilmington Street during the second night of Triangle demonstrations.

Malls outside of downtown Raleigh were also impacted by the riots on Monday. Raleigh police said three people were arrested at North Hills, where several shops and restaurants were vandalized, and four people were arrested at Triangle Town Center, where Target and Ross stores had windows smashed and items stolen.

Raleigh Police said via Twitter that members of the guard were deployed to "provide support as we work top restore order and ensure the safety of residents; protect necessary and critical infrastructure; and help ensure that those who wish to lawfully and peacefully exercise their First Amendment right to protest can do so."

Groups began gathering in downtown Raleigh on Sunday around 5 p.m. While initially peaceful, the situation began to escalate with armed guards deploying tear gas several times throughout the night and taking at least two people into custody.

At one point, Raleigh police said via social media that they used tear gas to move protesters out of the path of an EMS vehicle on its way to an emergency call after they refused to move.

Just before 8 p.m., crowds moved to the Governor's Mansion, where guards stood inside the gates. Protesters began throwing water bottles and shooting smoke bombs in the direction of the officers. Officers in riot gear arrested at least one person downtown.

Just before 9 p.m., police deployed tear gas, which dispersed the crowd. More tear gas was deployed about 30 minutes later, but the crowd continued to march.

A crowd gathered around the Confederate monument in downtown. Some climbed the monument and others painted it with messages including "Black Lives Matter."

Businesses in City Plaza, including Happy and Hale and Jimmy Johns, had shattered windows. The state archives and state Department of Transportation buildings also had windows smashed late Sunday. The downtown YMCA had numerous windows smashed.

Demonstrators set several fires in downtown Raleigh amid the chaos. Members of the National Guard were on the scene as of midnight. By 1 a.m. Monday, many of the demonstrators had left the area. The National Guard were on the grounds of the State Capitol early Sunday.

Protests in the state

In Rocky Mount, a group protested at a Confederate monument on Sunday afternoon. Later that evening, crowds marched through the streets and at one point blocked the intersection of Wesleyan Boulevard and Sutter’s Creek Boulevard.

In Smithfield, a peaceful gathering of about 75 people happened at the courthouse. Gatherings in Clinton and Durham remained peaceful.

Wilson police said about 200 protesters had gathered at the area Walmart, but the protest was resolved peacefully. Things began to escalate though in downtown Wilson where windows were broken at nearby businesses. "Officers have been deploying chemical munitions and moving in to make arrests in the downtown area. The protesters are mobile on vehicles and moving throughout the city," the police department said via Facebook.

In Fayetteville, Sunday night's scene was much quieter with many heeding the curfew set by Mayor Mitch Colvin.

"The purpose of curfew is to allow our law enforcement identify who it is that are moving about our streets in the wee hours of the night," Colvin said. The curfew runs 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

On Saturday, Fayetteville's historic Market House was set on fire and vandalized, police cars were smashed and flags were burned. Protesters threw bottles and other trash at police officers.

Similar to Fayetteville, protests began peaceful on Saturday in downtown Raleigh but later lead to damaged property. Twelve people were arrested and five officers were sent to the hospital. One officer left Saturday's protest with a broken jaw, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said.

Shots were fired in Raleigh after yesterday's protest, Brown said. Some of those arrested were not from North Carolina.

"We had about two hours of peaceful protesting," Deck-Brown said. "Everything after that was anarchy."

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said a decision about a curfew for the city will be made by 4 p.m. Monday and rely heavily on what occurs Sunday night in the city.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that 450 members of the National Guard have been activated to assist cities, including Raleigh and Charlotte.

"My fear is that the cry of the people is being drowned out by the noise of the riots. Let me be clear about one thing, people are more important than property. Black lives do matter," he said.

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 breathe 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.

Latest Updates:

1:35 p.m.: Raleigh Police are responding to calls of break-ins in the Triangle Town Center Mall area. The nearby Target had smashed windows and items had been stolen.

1:12 p.m.: CO Restaurant, AC Hotels, Fink's Jewelers were among the North Hills businesses that were vandalized. In downtown Raleigh, another small fire broke out but was extinguished by authorities. Most of the demonstrators appear to have left downtown.

12:55 a.m.: Firefighters are attending to a large fire outside the Caffe Luna restaurant in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh.

12:30 a.m.: Raleigh Police confirm that the National Guard has been deployed in downtown Raleigh. The downtown YMCA was vandalized with broken windows and people going inside.

12:17 a.m.: There is a large police presence amid protests at North Hills shopping center in Raleigh. REI was among the locations that were vandalized.

North Hills damage

11:46 p.m.: Demonstrators set at least two fires in downtown Raleigh amid the chaos. Some fireworks have also been set off. An armed police vehicle was scene on Wilmington Street.

11:00 p.m.: Protesters are converging on Hargett Street. Some have thrown cans at local churches. Police have deployed tear gas and arrested one person. A small fire has been set on the corner of Hargett and Wilmington streets not far from The Raleigh Times restaurant.

10:45 p.m.: Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin will implement a city curfew for Monday night. Baldwin said on WRAL she will announce the details of the curfew some time Monday morning. "My biggest concern is that there be no violence. We've had instances where people are smashing windows again. That's not what we need right now," she said.

Mayor Baldwin also cited her concern of COVID-19 spreading further while protesters gather without masks.

10:26 p.m.: Some City Plaza businesses were vandalized on Sunday night. The windows of restaurant Happy and Hale and Jimmy Johns were broken. A crowd gathered around the Confederate monument in downtown. Some climbed the monument and others painted it with messages including "Black Lives Matter."

10:05 p.m.: Protesters held their hands up, chanting "don't shoot" and "I can't breathe" as they sat in front of police at the corner of Salisbury and Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh.

9:58 p.m.: Police say that there are destructive demonstrations in the downtown area of Greenville. People were advised to avoid the area and shelter in place.

9:30 p.m.: More tear gas has been fired in downtown Raleigh as protesters continue to march.

9:27 p.m.: Wilson police have advised citizens to shelter in place. "There has been no violence but the situation is ongoing," the department posted on Facebook.

8:50 p.m.: Crowds in Raleigh have moved back to the State Capitol where a few protestors have parked their cars to block traffic. Police deployed tear gas which scattered the crowd.

8:37 p.m.: Raleigh police were putting on gas masks in a possible sign that more tear gas would be deployed. In Rocky Mount, there was a heavy police presence as crowds march through the streets, at times blocking roads.

8:28 p.m.: Wilson police said about 200 protesters had gathered at the area Walmart and officers were on the scene and the situation was under control.

8:00 p.m.: About 75 people gathered at the Smithfield Courthouse, sitting peacefully on the steps and talking with leaders.

7:50 p.m.: Crowds in downtown Raleigh moved to outside the Governor's Mansion, where guards stood inside the gates.

7:05 p.m.: At the protest in downtown Raleigh, tear gas has been deployed near the State Capitol grounds. Armed officers are responding to protestors who were blocking the street. At least one person appeared to be taken into custody.

7:00 p.m.: The Town of Spring Lake is imposing an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew according to a release from Mayor Larry Dobbins.

6:50 p.m.: Two protests that had planned to gather in Fayetteville on Monday, June 1 have unified into one protest and been postponed to June 13.

The protest has been postponed due to this weekend's large protests and "because of problems in the community," according to a representative from the event.

They said they want to focus on the real problem and make change in a different way. They hope to have better communication and grow as a community to move forward.

6:11 p.m.: Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said a decision on a city curfew will be determined by what happens Sunday night. A decision pn a curfew would be made Monday by 4 p.m. The mayor of Town of Spring Lake has declared a state of emergency and plans to invoke a curfew.

5:38 p.m.: The Walmart in Sanford closed at 2 p.m. amid reports of possible protests.

5:26 p.m.: Michael Jordan released a statement via Twitter about the protests in his home state. "We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability," he said.

5:10 p.m.: More than 100 people gathered in downtown Raleigh for another protest. A group has also gathered at a confederate monument in Rocky Mount for a protest. Battle Park in Rocky Mount was closed to the public at noon amid reports of planned protests.

4 p.m.: In a press conference, Gov. Roy Cooper stressed support for local mayors and encouraged them to meet with protesters in their cities to create an "open dialogue." "We must stop this destruction," Cooper said, adding that people need to remember the reason why people were marching in the first place, as he condemned racism and white supremacy. Cooper said he spoke with George Floyd's sister Bridgette Floyd, who lives in Hoke County, telling her that while he can't bring George back, "I can work for justice in his name. I assured her that's what we would do."

2:30 p.m.: Wake County closes four of its buildings downtown Raleigh due to damage. The Wake County Courthouse, Justice Center, Office Building and Public Safety Center are all closed.

These buildings are "at least" closed until Monday, a press release said.

Chairman Greg Ford said, "violence and destruction is never acceptable. It only diminishes the power of a positive message in a quest for change."

Most staff at the buildings were already working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, a release said.

1:45 p.m.: Protesters are gathering in Sanford. The Walmart on 3310 NC Highway 87 South near the protesters is closing at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Witnesses say the protesters are spreading all throughout town, near 106 Charlotte Avenue. Officials say everything is peaceful at this time.

1:15 p.m.: Fayetteville officials said they are expecting more protests tonight. Police made around three arrests last night, they said.

"The curfew is to make sure that life is protected, so that we can identify who can be coming into the community," Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins ​​​​​​said.

"Right now, to me, the first thing is to establish law and order in the city," Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

Colvin was seen protesting peacefully early in the afternoon Saturday.

1 p.m.: In Clinton, there are peaceful demonstrations planned for later today at the Clinton City Market. The Mayor of Clinton has issued a city-wide curfew starting at 8 p.m. Fayetteville Observer reporter Paul Woolverton was attacked covering a looting at Cross Creek Mall. He was treated at the hospital and released Saturday night.

Reporter Paul Woolverton with the Fayetteville Observer was attacked while covering a looting at Cross Creek Mall on Saturday night.

12:45 p.m.: The daughter of the Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry was tear during Raleigh's protests.

The 14-year-old wrote on her Facebook: "Being teargassed was probably the worse pain I’d ever felt, or definitely up there. My throat closed up and all I could do was cough."

Deberry wrote on her Facebook, "Black children, my children, do not get to be children. They have to stand in the street and face down tear gas."

12 p.m.: Jenn McLean, owner of The White Rabbit Pub in Fayetteville said her club was vandalized twice in one night. She said looters took every bottle of liquor and case of beer she had in the store. The business is closed due to COVID-19. Now, she said she won't have anything to sell when she is allowed to reopen.

11:15 a.m.: "While I wear this uniform, I’m a black woman in America," Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said. "I get what it’s like to be black in more ways than many of you will ever imagine or know."

She said that a group of protestors rallied around her officers, circled her officers and threw things at them.

"My officers got hit with stones last night," Deck-Brown said.

"We have a brain bruise, we have broken teeth and we have someone with a broken jaw," she said.

Deck-Brown said there was no conversation to "bring in the National Guard" because there are many steps the department has to take to have the Guard come.

"Destroying our city will never be the answer," she said.

11 a.m.: Mayor of Raleigh Mary-Ann Baldwin holds a press conference in downtown Raleigh.

"I'm asking all of you to please come together in peace and begin the rebuilding process," she said.

Raleigh Police Chief called the vandalism, damage and fires last night "anarchy."

10 a.m.: The Downtown Raleigh Alliance said there is "not a need for more volunteers" in downtown Raleigh at the moment.

"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.

9:30 a.m.: North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore asked Governor Roy Cooper to deploy the National Guard Saturday night. The guard has not been deployed.

9 a.m.: Mayor of Raleigh Mary-Ann Baldwin said that those who violently protested "will not be tolerated," in a statement on her twitter.

"Raleigh's better than this," she said.

8:30 a.m.: Hundreds people are downtown Raleigh cleaning up broken glass, garbage and other destruction on the streets.

8 a.m.: Outside of the Art of Style Boutique on West Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh, several groups are helping with cleanup.

6:45 a.m.: A volunteer group is planning to clean up downtown Raleigh at around 10 a.m. around the Raleigh Times Bar. People are told to bring masks, trash bags and brooms.

6 a.m.: Raleigh Police said there are no more people protesting within the city of Raleigh.

5 a.m.: Cititrends and Food Lion are all vandalized at the Raleigh Road plaza. Several flat screens are on the ground.

4:30 a.m.: Police confirmed several businesses in Emporium Plaza were damaged during last night's protests: AT&T, Raleigh Tobacco and Dr. Stylez. There's a cash register on the ground and broken glass outside the buildings. There is also vandalism at the Gamestop on Capital Boulevard.

4 a.m.: An Academy Sports in Fayetteville on Skibo Road was damaged during last night's protests.

3:00 a.m.: Fayetteville Police said things are beginning to quiet down, but they are blocking all roads around the hot zone. An officer said two Walmart stores and a Dick's Sporting Goods are all 'destroyed,' among others.

2:45 a.m.: The Raleigh Chief of Police has released a statement regarding the incidents following the peaceful protest on Saturday.

Fire in downtown Raleigh

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.

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