ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Peaceful protests that started in Atlanta during Friday afternoon, May 29, 2020, abruptly shifted to hostile attacks, rioting, looting, vandalism, fires and property destruction.
By Saturday morning, the Atlanta Police Department reported at least three officers were injured, 20 police vehicles were damaged and 71 people were arrested as a result of the incidents that occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning.READ MORE: Celebrate The Tampa Bay Lightning And Independence Day With Fourth Of July Boat Parade
Several members of the local media were attacked as well, and some of their vehicles were damaged or vandalized.
As a result of the overall destruction, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms imposed curfews that went into effect at 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday nights, ending at sunrise. Mayor Bottoms issued a 9 p.m. curfew Monday night.
She issued the following statement:
What we saw overnight was not a protest, and it was not Atlanta. We as a people are strongest when we use our voices to heal our city instead of using our hands to tear it down. We know our citizens are angry. We are angry and we want justice. If we are to enact change in this nation, I implore everyone to channel their anger and sorrow into something more meaningful and effective through non-violent activism.
What started out as a peaceful demonstration, quickly turned into mayhem and unnecessary destruction, and ultimately an assault on businesses that are already struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This morning we began mobilizing City leadership and resources to help our city recover from the devastating events that took place last night.
The Department of Public Works deployed crews early this morning to begin cleaning up our streets in the downtown and Buckhead areas of the city and our public safety officials are working to keep our businesses and communities safe. The Department of Transportation is working to remove graffiti from public buildings in those areas as well. We also coordinated with neighboring jurisdictions to provide additional public safety resources and with the Governor’s office to provide assistance from the National Guard to help with our recovery.
Now more than ever, I am calling on our communities to come together to show our strength as One Atlanta through prayer and working together to restore and heal our city as an example for the nation.
MARTA responded by suspended its services during the curfew hours, closing rail stations at 9 p.m., urging riders to board the last trains by 8:30 p.m. and said it stationed police officers throughout the system for safety and security. Riders were also urged to call MARTA’s Customer Care Center for transportation assistance after 9 p.m. MARTA will close operations Monday night at 9 p.m.
APD Chief Erika Shields said the following in a press release:
“We were patient. But we will not allow these protests to devolve into the destruction of property or placing the safety or our officers in jeopardy. We will make additional arrests and we are grateful to the assistance we are receiving from our partner agencies.”
Police said APD Officer Maximilian Brewer was standing near his motorcycle when an ATV struck him while he was stationed at the intersection of Marietta Street and Spring Street. They said he was rushed to Grady Hospital and said his legs had been significantly injured. APD reported he was recovering in ICU after having surgery this morning. They identified Avery Goggans, 42, as the ATV driver and charged him with DUI, Serious Injury by Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana, in addition to other traffic charges.
Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, APD officers said they arrested 70 more people.
APD gave the following update this morning:
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As of midnight, we made 64 arrests during Sunday’s protests and there were no major incidents. While we are pleased with the progress made today, we will remain ready for more issues as we enter into the work week.
APD said it is working to determine the number of businesses affected and developed a “multi-layered” strategy in terms of reacting, making arrests and getting SWAT teams involved to stop the criminal activity.
In Gwinnett County, police said they made four protest-related arrests on Saturday at Sugarloaf Mills Mall, related to what they said involved throwing rocks at officers, kicking out police vehicle windows and criminal trespassing on mall property.
They arrested Alvin Joseph, 21, Eli Frederick, 24, Armani Milton, 19, and Stephanie Nwankwo, 19, charging all of them with Disorderly Conduct by Refusal to Disburse. Frederick was also charged with Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer. Officers said body cam shows Frederick kicked an officer in the groin s he was trying to handcuff him. They said they officer “delivered two straight strikes to Frederick in an attempt to gain control and compliance” before Frederick no longer resisted.
Officers also said Joseph was tased during the incident due to non-compliance and while subsequently attempting to flee the scene a second time. Officials said most protesters were “non-violent and were there to voice emotions and viewpoints.”
Fulton County officials said they booked more than 80 people in connection with the protests into the Fulton County Jail between Friday and this afternoon. Multiple agencies, including South Fulton, Roswell, Alpharetta, as well as Capitol and State Police made the arrests. The charges include Disorderly Conduct, Battery, Property Damage, Smash and Grab, Attempted Burglary and Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer.
Cobb and Clayton County told CW69 there were no protest related incidents or arrests. Marietta police also reported no incidents in their city related to the protests.
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Officers said the two Marietta protests were very peaceful and drew about 400 people combined. They said protesters marched from the police headquarters to the square and back for one of the events. They marched to Grove Park for the other one. Officials said the community is planning another peaceful protest in the near future.