HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Four Houston police officers were injured Friday night as nearly 200 people were arrested in a night of chaos and tension in downtown Houston.
It began as a rally and march over the death of George Floyd Friday afternoon and deteriorated into tension and violence as the evening wore on.
By Saturday morning, broken windows and graffiti were left behind as the crowds finally dispersed.
This Verizon store in downtown Houston has been cleared out. Looters broke out the windows and took everything in sight. https://abc13.com/the-morning-after-damage-left-behind-after-downtown-chaos/6220895/ …
Houston Police Officers’ Union president Joe Gamaldi said in a tweet on Friday that officers were attacked and hospitalized during the protest.
The officers’ conditions were not known Saturday, but it appeared there were no life-threatening injuries.
Eight Houston police cruisers were damaged in the unrest.
Among the arrests, a woman was asked to leave the protest after she allegedly took out a rifle. Another protester appeared to have been carrying a machete in an unrelated encounter.
The crowds chanted, “No justice, no peace” and “Say his name. George Floyd.” Many held up signs that said, “I Can’t Breathe” and “Justice For George.”
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At one point during the evening, protesters gathered alongside U.S. Highway 59. A group of about 60 to 70 shut down the freeway for at least half an hour.
The event began as an organized outcry by Houston’s Black Lives Matter group after the death of Floyd, who was killed at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis on Monday. Floyd died after a police officer was caught on video kneeling on his neck for at least seven minutes.
Floyd said multiple times that he couldn’t breathe as dozens of bystanders stood by recording the officers.
Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest were fired this week. State investigators on Friday arrested the officer who was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The officer has been identified as Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is now charged with murder.
“Whether Mr. Floyd was from this city or not, every city in every state in this country has been impacted by the loss of life, and the way Mr. Floyd lost his life,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Thursday.
Violence erupted around the country following Floyd’s death, the worst of which happened in Minneapolis. Protesters there took over the streets, and looters broke into several businesses.