SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio was the latest city to experience violence over the death of George Floyd when a peaceful protest in the downtown area Saturday night erupted into violence.
The protest that started late Saturday afternoon at Travis Park started peacefully, but when nighttime fell in the Alamo City, things got out of control, as crowds tossed rocks and other objects at police officers, Police Chief William McManus said. People damaged windows at Rivercenter Mall and sprayed graffiti at numerous places.
Three San Antonio police officers were injured, McManus said. One of them was hit in the head with a rock and another was struck in the knee with a brick. A few people suffered minor injuries, but none at the hands of officers, the chief said. Three people were arrested.
At one point, police threw pepper balls and tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowds, McManus said. There was a large police presence in the downtown area, as SAPD officers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers blocked intersections to move traffic out of downtown.
McManus said he wasn’t surprised at what transpired Saturday night after similar incidents in Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis and other cities across the nation.
“What happened tonight we were expecting to happen," McManus said, adding that most of the “agitators” were more than likely people who don’t live in San Antonio.
The route of the protest began at the park, went through downtown San Antonio, the San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters and ended at the Alamo before crowds began dispersing.
Police officers joined together when crowds gathered at the Alamo and formed a line to help contain the large crowds.
Because of the violence, Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a disaster declaration for the city and a curfew for the downtown business district from 11:30 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday and from 10 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.
“This brief curfew will protect the safety of people and property in the downtown business district while allowing the vast majority of people to peacefully assemble,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
McManus said that officers will out on Sunday night in hopes that a repeat of what happened Saturday night doesn’t occur.