MPD: 15 arrested, officers injured, and more stores looted in overnight clashes
For the second time in as many days, clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators erupted as protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody earlier this week wound down.
By the end of the night, more than a dozen people were arrested, more stores along State Street were looted, and more property damage and graffiti was inflicted. The conflict started heating up about a half-hour after
went into effect when some of the protesters, who
along State Street and Capital Square since 6 p.m., hadn’t left.
“You know there are some things that are more important than following curfew. We want to be out here. Demonstrate. We want Justice,” a UW student named Venus explained, who called the curfew unjust.
According to the Madison Police Dept., its officers initially did not confront the people violating the order and remained in their standard uniforms. That all changed shortly before 10 p.m. when people reportedly started throwing objects at officers and one of them was struck in the face.
Soon thereafter, with more officers now on the scene and dressed in riot gear, they fired tear gas into crowds, trying to disperse them. Some of the demonstrators were seen continuing to throw water bottles and rocks and the Madison Police Dept. states several of its officers were injured by the projectiles.
One recent UW graduate who was cleaning up after several bricks went through his apartment window, said he wished the destruction would end.
“I don’t think it’s been that bad so far, but it’s saddening for sure,” he said. “I’m thankful something worse has not happened.”
and other local law enforcement agencies assisted the Madison Police Dept. in containing the crowd. While some demonstrators claimed police were using rubber bullets, MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain said they were never deployed.
In all, 15 people were arrested overnight, one of whom was accused of looting while carrying a handgun. Several more people allegedly tried to steal a police cruiser.
Additionally, like on Saturday night, officers responded to other incidents of looting around the city. It has not released details of those instances.
In its statement, the Madison Police Dept. asserted it is committed to upholding First Amendment Protections and maintaining public safety, “Unfortunately, over the last two nights a number of individuals have been intent on acting in a violent and destructive manner.”