DETROIT – Detroit Police Chief James Craig provided a live update on the status of Downtown’s third night of protesting the killing of black Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Protesters took to the streets of Detroit on Sunday for a third consecutive day of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. The demonstration remained peaceful all day until about 8:40 p.m. -- 40 minutes beyond the city’s recently-issued curfew that is in effect from 8 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the curfew Sunday to help curb violence and arrests seen during Friday’s and Saturday’s protests Downtown. Craig says the curfew will be reevaluated but it is unclear if it will be extended at this time -- however, he says it is “not indefinite.”
“By and large, the protestors that we’ve dealt with over the last three days have truly been supported; we support their message,” Craig said. “We will continue to support the message. But what we cannot support is damaging property -- (it’s) a significant public safety issue. Those things we cannot support. Otherwise, we will continue to work with and support their First Amendment right.
“I feel like they feel. What happened to Mr. Floyd should have never happened; it was horrific. We’re angry about it, but the best way to address our anger (is to) protest in a peaceful manner," Craig added.
Craig says that action was taken swiftly to uphold the curfew without sacrificing the safety of the protestors that lingered into the evening.
Shortly after 8:40 p.m., tear gas was deployed on the crowds. Detroit police then marched in a line toward the crowd and began arresting protestors who defied the curfew. Arrestees were loaded into vehicles -- including a bus that was stationed in preparation to transport them. A majority of the demonstrators dispersed.
The number of individuals arrested Sunday night has not yet been confirmed. There are no reports of any injuries as of Sunday evening.
Craig also addressed allegations regarding excessive police force used during protests in Downtown Detroit on Saturday night, saying an investigation has been opened into at least one incident.
The Police Chief reiterated that a majority of the individuals present at the protest were peaceful, and that violent actions are taken by few -- and most are not residents of Detroit. Craig previously condemned such behavior, telling protestors from outside of Detroit to “disrupt” their own cities.