ORLANDO, Fla., — During a news conference on Monday, the Orlando police chief said that there will be a formal review of the use of tear gas used on protesters during this weekend’s demonstrations.
What You Need To Know
- Orlando police said some people threw rocks, bottles
- Authorities had to use tear gas to disperse crowds
The Orlando Police Department will do a formal use of force review after tear gas had to be used on the protesters who were throwing rocks, bottles and construction equipment at authorities during this weekend’s protests, said Police Chief Orlando Rolon.
He also said that the body cam video of the officers being assaulted will be released as it shows why officers had to deploy the tear gas. Tear gas was used on protesters on both Saturday and Sunday, Rolon said.
ALERT ⚠️ : Unfortunately, because demonstrators are throwing rocks, bottles and construction equipment, police had to deploy tear gas. Currently, I-4 is closed between Ivanhoe & Amelia Ave. pic.twitter.com/U3HswCUeKy— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 1, 2020
On Sunday, hundreds walked from Orlando’s city hall, to the city’s police headquarters, to the entrance of State Road 408, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot. Hands up, don’t shoot.” It has been the cry for justice in the days since George Floyd’s death.
Things were peaceful during the day, but later Sunday night, the Orlando Police Department stated that people began throwing rocks, bottles and construction equipment at authorities, who used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Authorities had to shut down part of Interstate 4 for an hour.
Demonstrations began peacefully across downtown. One group at the Orlando Police Department decided to transition from the department to State Road 408.
Police say at one point rocks and bottles were thrown at them as they tried to get people to leave the 408. A small burst of pepper spray was deployed, but smoke and tear gas were deployed later on, Rolon said.
About 4,000 people took part in Orlando’s demonstrations, he said, adding that a total of around 30 people were arrested during the weekend.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer stressed that very few people were violent during the weekend. The police chief said during Sunday night’s protests, things ended peacefully around 11 p.m. and some businesses suffered damage, like shattered windows.
Both he and Rolon said that they expect that officers to be professional at all times and not to do anything that would tarnish the badge. The mayor also said that the city’s police department holds officers to the highest standards that have implemented one of the strictest and broadest tracking and review processes when an officer responds to resistance.
People of all races gathered together over the weekend, chanting for change. They want systemic racism addressed and rectified and that message continued in Central Florida.
“We’re all out here together, we’re trying to do this, there’s a lot going on. And outside this brutality, there’s a lot of other things that are being unaddressed. So you know I just want to do my part and help out,” said Kris Ramcharitar.
On Saturday, protesters blocked State Road 408 at Orange Blossom Trail near Camping World Stadium for several hours as officers set off smoke when a few people began throwing things.
Then late that night, police responded to the area by the Mall at Millenia, where at least six businesses had windows shattered, signs broken. Because of the destruction caused, all of Orange County and Orlando has been placed on a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.
TONIGHT: there is a curfew in effect for the City of Orlando. pic.twitter.com/A8wZBCqrM1— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 1, 2020
At least six businesses sustained damage, and eight people were arrested in connection to the incidents, Rolon said during the weekend.
But as for the actual protests, authorities are stressing they were mostly peaceful. The protests lasted for hours over the weekend, far surpassing these other moments of violence.
Officials encouraging people to keep speaking their minds, but not resort to violence.
Protests and riots have broken out all over the country since Floyd’s death. The black man pleaded for air after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, had his knee on Floyd's throat during an arrest in Minneapolis.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired, and Chauvin has been charged with murder.