WATCH: Centro San Antonio, downtown businesses thank those who helped clean up after Saturday’s violence

‘They had brooms, they had trash bags, and they had compassion in their hearts,’ mayor says

SAN ANTONIO – The community cleanup that followed havoc downtown on Saturday night “made you proud to be a San Antonian,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in an event to thank those who volunteered the following day.

Nirenberg, along with Centro San Antonio CEO Matt Brown and Assistant City Manager David McCary, echoed comments about unity and compassion as local businesses reeled from graffiti, broken windows and looting.

The 90-120 minute rampage followed an otherwise peaceful protest on Saturday that honored George Floyd, whose death has set off demonstrations across the globe.

A total of 28 downtown sites had graffiti, including La Villita, the River Walk and the Hemisfair, and an estimated 39 businesses had windows broken.

Weekend violence in downtown San Antonio results in anything but business as usual Monday morning

The destruction caused dozens of people, including Spurs guard Lonnie Walker, to head to the downtown area to clean up the mess on Sunday morning. Community members were armed with trash bags, paint brushes and brooms, while other volunteers gave out free food and water bottles.

McCary said by 9 a.m. trash had already been removed.

“We didn’t hesitate and we didn’t miss a beat,” he said. “It’s always about the response. I couldn’t be prouder of San Antonio, our city."

Nirenberg added that Saturday night’s violence did not reflect the community, but those who made it out Sunday morning “made you proud.”

“They had brooms, they had trash bags, and they had compassion in their hearts,” he said, adding that it “clears the canvass” for the community to discuss the unrest across the country.

Spurs’ Lonnie Walker passes out water, joins community cleanup after businesses damaged in downtown San Antonio

If a business still needs help with graffiti removal, the city says to call 311. City officials have not released a damage estimate.

Centro SA has 100 ambassadors who work every day, Brown said. Without the community’s help, he said, employees wouldn’t have made a dent in the mess.

“It just hurt everybody, it was just so emotional.”

Demonstrations have erupted across the nation in response to Floyd’s death. For nearly a week, largely peaceful protests by day have turned to chaos at night.

President Donald Trump vowed to send in troops to “dominate the streets" if governors don’t crackdown on protesters.

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About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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