Protests Break Out

Sep 25, 2020

Overnight on 23-24 September 2020, protests broke out in a number of major U.S. cities following a grand jury decision to not indict two police officers who shot and killed a 26-year-old Black woman during a 13 March raid at her residential apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. One of the three officers involved in the raid was indicted for shooting at random into a nearby apartment. In Louisville, demonstrators – who had begun gathering at Jefferson Square Park in the downtown area beginning on the morning of 23 September — started marching through the city shortly after the state’s attorney general announced the decision. Police officers stopped the participants in the city’s Highlands area and used batons and chemical irritants to disperse the march. Separately, protesters threw fireworks and set several garbage cans on fire near Jefferson Square Park. Authorities arrested as many as 100 people in the city. Meanwhile, a gunman shot two police officers, both of whom suffered non-life-threatening wounds, shortly before a citywide curfew went into effect at 2100 local time on 23 September (0100 UTC on 24 September). A state of emergency remains in effect in Louisville and a nightly curfew from 2100-0630 local time will continue at least until the morning of 26 September. Additionally, about 500 Kentucky National Guard personnel are deployed in the city.

Elsewhere in the U.S., a motorist drove through a group of protesters near Niagara Square in Buffalo, New York, injuring at least one person; authorities later arrested the motorist. In Seattle, Washington, protesters clashed with police officers, who arrested at least 13 people. In Portland, Oregon, approximately 75 protesters gathered in the downtown area, threw Molotov cocktails at police officers and started small-scale fires along a side of the police central precinct building. At least three police officers were injured in Portland, and authorities arrested multiple people. Additionally, police officers in Atlanta, Georgia, deployed tear gas and pepper spray at demonstrators who attempted to climb on top of a police vehicle.

Other notable protest gatherings concluded largely peacefully in major cities. In New York City, thousands of people took to the streets, including in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and near Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — from where approximately 2,000 people marched across the Manhattan Bridge, disrupting vehicular traffic. Meanwhile, approximately 1,000 people marched in downtown Los Angeles and gathered outside the Hall of Justice; police officers arrested two individuals who were engaged in vandalism. In downtown Chicago, hundreds of people gathered at Millennium Park, chanting slogans to demand justice for the deceased. Protests also occurred in Chicago’s Logan Square and Wicker Park neighborhoods. In Washington, D.C., protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice and marched through the city center area. Windows of a restaurant were smashed in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, but there were no other reports of violence.

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