Syracuse, N.Y. – Less than 10 people were arrested and no one was believed to be seriously injured during protests and riots Saturday night, said Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner this morning.
“Our city is crooked, but we don’t rest,” Buckner said. “We know it’s important. Past. I think we are ready for now. I think we did a good job absorbing very difficult blows to the face. “
The protest starts at 2 pm, when about 50 people showed up in front of the Public Safety Building to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during his arrest.
Across the country, big cities witnessed arson, riots, and looting after Floyd’s death. Before Floyd was killed, Breona Taylor, a black woman in Louisville, was shot dead by police during a no-knock attack while she slept in her house, and Ahmad Aubrey, a black man, was chased by two white people and killed when he jogged in Georgia.
“We understand the anger many people in our community feel,” Buckner said, “but we certainly will not tolerate property damage.”
On Saturday, protesters march through Syracuse – on the South, North and West sides – and west to Solvay and Geddes. Throughout Saturday, protests grew, eventually forming a procession of more than 100 cars. At the end of the parade, at least 500 people had joined.
But around 9:30 pm, someone brought a baseball bat to the Onondaga District Court building and another broke the window in the Public Safety Building. Police in riot gear then appeared from behind the wall in the line between the protesters and the Public Safety Building.
Other police agents, including the New York State Police, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and other smaller departments, dispatched officers in riot clothing. They pushed back protesters from the crossroads of East Jefferson and Southern States.
The police use what it is the mayor was described as “less than deadly” round and chemicals such as tear gas or pepper spray. Buckner would not say which of the two were used and what was fired by his officers to the crowd. The projectile looks like a rubber bullet or similar tactic.
After the protests broke up, people looted the Villa, Street Game and a shop on South Salina Street.
Buckner will not say how many were arrested and what accusations they will face.
The chief said he would use the curfew issued by Mayor Ben Walsh as a “tool” for “getting control” of things faster if people protest Sunday but don’t specify how.
“Nobody died tonight,” Buckner said. “I think that’s a victory.”
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