May 31, 2020 at 2:44 PM EDT – Updated May 31 at 2:52 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh’s mayor and police chief both condemned the violence that occurred Saturday night after a peaceful protest descended into chaos.
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown spoke Sunday morning in downtown as groups began to clean up the damage left behind.
Businesses along Fayetteville Street and surrounding blocks sustained damage as vandals broke windows and started fires.
The events in Raleigh coincided with other violence across the country Saturday in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while being arrested in Minneapolis.
“Last night was heartbreaking and devastating,” Baldwin said.
The mayor said Raleigh will always be a place for peaceful and lawful protests.
“We must continue to come together without the threat of violence if we truly want to find common ground,” Baldwin said.
The mayor said she has contacted Gov. Roy Cooper for assistance.
She also wants a state of emergency declaration so a curfew can be put in place if needed.
Deck-Brown said no one expected the violence that occurred Saturday but there was a plan to handle the crowd.
“The actions of the violent, lawless crowd that damaged our city and attacked officers and assaulted officers was disgusting and unacceptable,” Deck-Brown said.
The chief praised her officers, saying they acted valiantly and showed great professionalism and prevented further damage.
“It was not until after the crowd began to throw bottles and rocks at officers that the Raleigh police Department escalated their response,” the chief said.
She said an incident on the backside of the Wake County Justice Center on McDowell Street began the unrest.
The chief was asked how downtown residents can feel safe after some said not enough was done by officers to protect their property.
“When the greater risk is of injury to the officer, and I had five injured last night – a building? A window? A door? The property that was in it can easily be replaced. But for a person who has had officers shot. And more recently than not, I will not put an officer in harm’s way to protect the property inside of a building. Because insurance is most likely going to cover that as well but that officer’s safety is of the utmost importance,” Deck-Brown said.
The chief said the injuries to her officers include a brain bruise, broken teeth, injured jaw, and cardiac issues.
The chief said the five Raleigh police officers who were taken the hospital Saturday night have been released.
“Destroying our city is not the answer,” Deck-Brown said.
Twelve arrests were made overnight and the chief said more arrests will be made.
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