Violence erupts following George Floyd rally in Des Moines Friday evening
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) — Protesters in downtown Des Moines clashed with police officers Friday evening after a planned rally over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Organizers of the event asked protesters to leave peacefully at the conclusion of the demonstration, but many chose not to. A KCCI editor witnessed protesters throwing bottles at officers, and broke out windows on police vehicles. Officers used mace on the crowd of at least 200. A line of officers in riot gear stood in a line near the police station at Second Street and Court Avenue in Des Moines’ East Village.
State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad stood between police and protesters to attempt to diffuse the situation. A group of protest leaders were escorted behind police lines to speak with Sgt. Paul Parizek. Protesters continued to chant, but were otherwise peaceful by 8:50 p.m.
After 9 p.m., officers asked protesters to disperse. When they refused, officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Glass could be heard breaking as the crowd moved away from officers. Bottles and bricks were again thrown at officers, along with fireworks. Officers continued to fire tear gas into the crowd as it dispersed in several directions, while a smaller group of protesters remained. Some of those protesters could be seen throwing rocks at a line of officers in riot gear.
By 9:40 p.m., most protesters had dispersed, but some pockets of them remained. Some could be seen continuing to throw rocks at officers. Damage was reported at several businesses in the area, with glass shattered in several locations. Police marched to Hilltop Tire service around 10 p.m., where people were seeing smashing windows and going in and out of the building.
Rep. Abdul-Samad continued to try to diffuse the situation, talking to protesters with a bullhorn.
At 10:08, officers at the Hilltop scene pressed forward as protesters hurled objects at them.
At around 10:20 p.m., officers charged east down Court Avenue as more objects were hurled at them. A handful of protesters were apprehended by police.
At East First and Walnut, the windows and doors were broken in at the Federal Courthouse.
Des Moines Police said Friday night that several arrests have been made but have not released any additional information.
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