RALEIGH — In cities and towns across North Carolina, peaceful protests by day devolved into vandalism, shouting, and confrontations.
It was announced mid-morning that Governor Roy Cooper will not be holding a briefing today to address the second wave of violent protests and rioting across the state.
About 125 protestors gathered in downtown Asheboro Sunday night. The event was peaceful and was accompanied by a significant police presence and approximately 30 people who were not protesting but said they were there to “defend the town.” Some local shop owners were in their shops, most were armed.
There were a few instances of protestors blocking traffic on main downtown streets and the noticeable odor of marijuana smoke. But, no arrests were made during the protest.
Joy Culpepper, a teacher from Asheboro, said she was protesting and her concern is that sensitivity training is not mandatory for all law enforcement. “It shouldn’t be optional,” said Culpepper. “We’re all different. We have to understand differences.”
Melissa Bunker, of Asheboro, was gathered with several others near the Randolph County historic courthouse. Other courthouses and historic sites across the states had been vandalized during Saturday protests. Bunker, who was wearing military-style attire and a large back pack, said she had military training and had medical supplies in her pack. Civilian CID. “I’m here in defense of the town, here to uphold our constitutional rights,” said Bunker. She said that she would use her medical supplies to help anyone, regardless of their reason for gathering, if they needed it.
WLOS reported Sunday night that protesters shut down both directions of Insterstate 240 in Asheville.
Mayor Esther Manheimer and City Manager Debra Campbell called for calm during an interview late Sunday night. “Our message is be calm, stay safe, and we’ll get through this together. We love this city. We don’t want to destroy it in any way,” Campbell said.
Protesters later cheered as Asheville police took a knee in a show of solidarity in front of the police station after midnight. The city said in a tweet “Asheville protesters reach an agreement w/ AVL Police. News 13 crews say the crowd is starting to disperse.”
Mayor Mitch Colvin issued a state of emergency in anticipation of a second night of civil unrest invoked a curfew in the afternoon hours leading up to the second night of protests. The curfew applies to the city limits of Fayetteville starting at 8 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m.
The Lincoln Financial building was one of several damaged in downtown Greensboro, according to WFMY. City crews blocked off parts of Elm St. to clean up from the past two days.
Greenville Police closed the downtown area to all foot traffic after damage to a police cruiser and a confederate monument in front of the Pitt County courthouse.
“Destructive crowd now moving on 10th street near area of College Hill. Please avoid area,” said a tweet from the police department.
They asked all downtown businesses to close and for anyone in the area to leave according to WITN.
Raleigh Mayor MaryAnn Baldwin did not issue a curfew prior to the second night of protests. Baldwin waited until sometime around 10 p.m. on Sunday night to announce a curfew for Monday night to start at 8 p.m. and run through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. The following morning, Baldwin issued a formal statement about the curfew along with a declaration of emergency.
The National Guard was finally deployed in Raleigh around 12:24 a.m., but not before windows were shattered on the N.C. Supreme Court building and the NC Dept. of Transportation Building. A number of businesses in the area were also vandalized.
Rioters were not cleared from downtown Raleigh until close to 4:30 a.m. Monday morning. At least seven arrests were made by the Raleigh Police Department. The rioting and did not stay contained in the Raleigh city center. Four of those arrested were in connection with incidents of vandalism and property damage at Triangle Town Center. Three arrests happened near North Hills.
Two people were arrested on Sunday afternoon, May 31, after they reportedly shot near protestors gathered at Church and Innes Streets according to Salisbury Police. No injuries were reported.
According to a press release by the Salisbury Police Dept., Jeffrey Allan Long, 49, a white male, and Brandon M. Walker, 34, a black male, were taken into custody. Three handguns were recovered and the charges for both individuals are pending. The investigation is still open.
City officials put a curfew into effect late Sunday night in Wilmington after law enforcement leaders say a crowd of protesters refused to listen to orders to clear streets and intersections, WECT reported.
A crowd of protesters started gathering in downtown around 6 p.m. Sunday, with demonstrators later chanting “George Floyd,” “no justice, no peace,” and “can’t breathe.”
New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies used inert gas to try to move the crowd along after 8 p.m. Police said multiple objects were thrown at the New Hanover County courthouse.
A tweet from the WPD said protesters began throwing fireworks at vehicles on Front and Princess streets.
According to online jail records, eight people were charged with failure to disperse on command. Three of those people also were charged with a curfew violation, while two were charged with inciting to riot.
Cars full of jeering young people honking horns and shouting slogans joined with pedestrian protesters in front of the Wilson County Courthouse, according to the Wilson Times.
With signs reading “Black Lives Matter “ and “No Justice,” the protesters shouted and chanted.
The generally peaceful display of anger turned violent as bottles, bricks and exploding fireworks were thrown at Wilson police officers and Wilson County sheriff’s deputies dressed in riot gear.
Police threw tear gas canisters, which temporarily dispersed the groups. One man set the ground on fire adjacent to the Wilson County Nash Street Office Building, but others put it out with their feet.
At every turn, protesters taunted police.
Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard said law enforcement officers were incensed at how George Floyd died in Minneapolis. “We’re upset that the officers made us look bad in the community,” Woodard said. Woodard said he appreciates the protests as long as they remain peaceful.
“Be peaceful about it,” Woodard said. “Let’s do this thing peacefully and hope that those officers are held accountable. What they did was heinous and was wrong, and I am ready for the justice system to take care of it. But we can’t just sit here and destroy our own community over it.”