What began as peaceful protests in downtown Gainesville Saturday night, ended with the damage of several area businesses. The protestors were there to voice their outrage over the recent murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.
The demonstration turned destructive later in the night when windows were broken out at Slack’s Auto Parts on Main Street, Target was burglarized and six Gainesville police vehicles were vandalized.
An Instagram post from the Gainesville Police Department says that nine arrests were made, with charges ranging from disorderly conduct to public drunkenness.
The protestors gathered at Jesse Jewell Parkway early in the evening, totaling approximately 700 at one point. The crowd appeared to disperse, but later into the night was when the protests turned negative. No injuries were reported.
The Gainesville Police Department’s Instagram post, beginning with a proclamation of unity. “To our community, we hear you and we love you. We have come a long way when it comes to understanding each other. We are hurting with you and we want you to know that we stand with you.”
Protests continue in downtown Gainesville Sunday evening. As of 8:30 p.m. about 30-40 protestors had already gathered at Jesse Jewell Parkway.
Gainesville police urge those who wish to participate to do so peacefully. “Please do not forget that we are Gainesville and Gainesville stands united.”