Protests started in downtown Dayton at the federal building around noon on Saturday and lasted throughout the day.
Shouting at times “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe,” thousands of people converged on downtown throughout the day to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
• After listening to speeches of protest and peace, a large crowd of people marched to the Oregon District in the afternoon and attempted to walk down Wayne Avenue toward U.S. 35 before they were turned back by police.
• On Wayne Avenue, some protesters became violent and began throwing rocks and water bottles at Dayton police officers. Police dispersed tear gas toward the crowd. The crowd slowly dispersed.
• Police turned protesters away from walking up an Interstate 75 entrance in downtown to try to block the highway.
• During most of the afternoon, people milled around downtown shouting at cars that drove by and some minor vandalism was done to buildings.
• Around 7 p.m., large crowds of protesters gathered around Courthouse Square and near the Dayton Safety Building on Third Street.
•People became more violent and began vandalizing the Safety Building and other downtown property. One protester jumped on and kicked a Dayton Police cruiser parked on Third Street that was tagged with graffiti. Some people were seen carrying long guns.
•Motorists drove along Third Street at high rates of speed, doing donuts in the middle of the roadway.
• Police began using tear gas on protesters at the intersection of Third and Ludlow streets around 7:30 p.m. and continued for the next hour dispersing crowds who would not back away from the safety building. They also began shooting rubber bullets toward protesters, who threw some canisters back toward the police.
• The mayor issued a curfew for downtown and the Oregon District, which started at 9 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. Sunday. She said people would be arrested if they were found on the street past the curfew.
“It’s clear this afternoon as the protests disseminated we had some folks that were less about the issue of what we’re talking about and more just wanting to cause trouble,” said Whaley. “We expect that to happen tonight.”
The curfew includes the Oregon District and downtown and extends east from Keowee Street, north and west from the river and south from Sixth Street.
• At 9 p.m., police began announcing people were to leave downtown over loud speakers. At one point, several dozen canisters of tear gas were thrown at protesters in the Courthouse Square area.
•Large crowds began leaving downtown. As crowds dispersed, two gun shots were heard in the area of Third and Jefferson streets. Police were seen running toward the area. A witness told our reporters that a man had shot a gun into the air and ran into MJ’s, a bar on Jefferson Street. No injuries were reported.
•Businesses in the Oregon District and downtown received heavy damage to windows and doors from protesters throwing objects.
• At least 15 people were arrested and one deputy injured during protests in Dayton Saturday, according to Police Chief Richard Biehl.
Two people were arrested for felonies and 13 for misdemeanors. About one third of those arrested were not from Dayton, Biehl said.
• A Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy received an ankle injury and was transported for treatment. Other officers were injured but were able to maintain their position, Biehl said. He called it a “challenging night” for regional law enforcement but that officers did a good job “maintaining this disorder” in a “compliant” way.
• Chief Biehl: “We mobilized regional resources to be on standby and called them in. We were prepared with the help of those resources. We thank those who responded, they did a fantastic job.”
• Chief Biehl: “We had peaceful protesters who wanted to get their message across, but we had some people who wanted to participate in civil disorder and dangerous situations. There are ways to have your voices heard and do it while abiding by the law.”
• “I am very pleased by the vast majority of folks here in Dayton,” Mayor Nan Whaley said. “There are a couple of folks that aren’t really about the protests and are really about more destroying property. We have to make sure that we protect public safety. Because of that we decided to institute this curfew.”
• Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP, condemned the acts of those protesters who became violent or destroyed public property.
Foward was in Atlanta today, where he said he helped clean up damage after protests there and where he was “praising the city of Dayton for being resilient once again in responding to a tragedy.”
“And now, what I am hearing is happening by some individuals is a total travesty,” he said. “And the destructive people are not honoring the name of George Floyd or any African American who has died in police custody.”
The Dayton NAACP “totally condemns all acts of violence, all acts of destruction happening this evening,” he said.
The Dayton chapter “is very saddened by individuals who have potentially come from outside our community to potentially try to destroy our community,” Foward said.
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