RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Protests held in Breonna Taylor’s name ended with multiple downtown businesses being vandalized again and at least a dozen arrests.
“There were those, mostly white, who used this as an excuse to incite violence and cause destruction of our downtown businesses community,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.
Baldwin said the city did what it could to keep things peaceful by closing streets for protesters and directing police to wear blue uniforms instead of riot gear.
But she said a group of people who strayed from the peaceful protesters had other plans.
“Their message from the moment they gathered right across here in Nash Square to the media was, ‘shut off your cameras, because things are going to get bad’,” Baldwin said.
People in the crowd were seen burning the U.S. flag, setting of fireworks, pulling down barriers, and throwing rocks at police.
Officers arrested 12 people during the protests. Charges range from assaulting an officer, public disturbance, unlawful assembly and resisting arrest.
“I have no doubt there will be more arrests coming, as we have to obviously investigate the damage to the various properties that did happen,” said Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown.
Clean-up crews spent Sunday covering up graffiti, sweeping up newly replaced glass storefronts that were shattered, and reinstalling plywood over broken windows.
“Everybody thinks Americans are so civilized,” said Gus Samarco, who lives in downtown Raleigh. “Like, why or how something like this could happen?”
Baldwin said she’s optimistic the community will grow from these dark moments, and that downtown businesses will recover.
“I spent many years working to build our downtown and our small business community. I am not going to go quietly and let that destruction happen,” she said.