SAN ANTONIO – At least six people were arrested and formally charged overnight after a peaceful downtown San Antonio protest against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd morphed into destruction and violence, forcing city officials to issue a disaster declaration and curfew.
People taken into custody by San Antonio police were booked on a wide range of criminal charges, according to booking records. Among the people arrested:
- Joe Canales, 44, charged with aggravated assault against a peace officer, engaging in a riot, evading arrest and resisting arrest
- Wayne Ray Waldrip III, 21, charged with engaging in a riot, obstruction of a passageway and unlawful carry of a weapon
- Alejandro Yanez, 17, charged with engaging in a riot
- Ryatt Ray Aguilar, 19, charged with retaliation and engaging in a riot
Three other people were booked on low level misdemeanor charges.
Davianna Reece was charged with a curfew violation, Ethan Pulliam was charged with pedestrian in the roadway and Natalie Calderon was charged with criminal mischief.
The Texas Penal Code defines engaging in a riot as an assemblage of seven or more persons resulting in conduct which creates an immediate danger of damage to property or injury to persons, substantially obstructs law enforcement or other governmental functions or services or by force, threat of force, or physical action deprives any person of a legal right or disturbs any person in the enjoyment of a legal right.
Attendees in downtown San Antonio Saturday carried signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace" as speakers led the crowd in “We can’t breathe” chants.
Floyd was killed as a Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while detaining him for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.
A video of the encounter shows bystanders and Floyd begging the officer to get off of his neck. The video sent shockwaves through a country already gripped by an international pandemic and economic crisis.
Saturday’s crowd quickly swelled to thousands as marchers, most donning masks, walked more than a mile to SAPD Public Safety Headquarters after gathering at Travis Park.
Several thousand people could be seen marching in the streets of downtown from the Sky 12 aerial livestream.
As night fell, the crowd slowly shrank and hundreds of protesters took to the Alamo, where another group of armed demonstrators had been posted most of Saturday.
That group said they were “protecting” the Alamo after vandals sprayed graffiti on the downtown Texas landmark on Friday morning.
Eventually, as tension grew, some “agitators” flung rocks and fire extinguishers through storefront windows at Rivercenter Mall and a few scuffles broke out, officials said at a late-night press conference.
Police fired tear gas and pepper and rubber bullets, according to SAPD Chief William McManus.
City officials then issued a curfew for downtown San Antonio from 11:30 p.m. Saturday night to 6 a.m. Sunday.
A curfew will also be in effect from 10 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday.
"The planned demonstrations from earlier today were peaceful and the organizations did exactly what they said they would do to keep others safe. The situation was escalated by some bad actors whose only intent was to incite violence and cause destruction. The actions of a few do not represent the majority of those who came out to peacefully demonstrate,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during the late-night press conference.