White House

Demonstrations Continue, Protesters Arrested After DC Curfew Imposed

“If you are not a member of the media or do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody," the police chief said

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What to Know

  • A citywide curfew in D.C. began at 7 p.m. Monday. The mayor announced the new curfew after a first night with a curfew began at 11 p.m. Sunday.
  • Metro will cut train and bus service early.
  • Dozens of federal and local police officers are hurt after clashes Sunday night and early Monday.

A fourth night of demonstrations continued and protesters were arrested after Washington, D.C.'s curfew went into effect at 7 p.m. Monday.

The new curfew started as protesters continued expressing outrage across the city over the death of George Floyd across. Protesters reported tear gas or pepper spray being thrown into crowds.

As the curfew began, Metropolitan Police Department officers in riot gear began to clear protesters from D.C. streets near the White House after military police cleared Lafayette Square using tear gas and flash bangs and established a perimeter.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized how Lafayette Square was cleared in a tweet Monday evening.

The president walked over to St. Johns's Episcopal Church surrounded by Secret Service after he spoke in the Rose Garden. The church's nursery was set on fire Sunday, Rector Rev. Rob Fisher said. A large fire also burned outside the church at one point.

Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Budde condemned Trump's visit to the church.

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"The President just used a Bible and one of the churches of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard.

"I am outraged.

"The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s; nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country."

Shortly before curfew began, Trump said he is immediately deploying "thousands and thousands of heavily armed" military and law enforcement to protect Washington, D.C., as the city's new curfew began.

"Beginning tonight, the Department of Justice has deployed all of its law enforcement components — FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals, and BOP — and is closely coordinating with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to maximize federal security presence throughout the District," DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement. "The Department is working hand-in-hand with the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol Police, the Federal Protective Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the D.C. National Guard.”

Police made public address announcements warning protesters they were in violation of the curfew and subject to arrest.

D.C.'s Office of Police Complaints is applauding restraint shown by local officers of the Metropolitan Police Department even amid taunting and physical provocation. The independent agency says there have only been about half a dozen complaints filed as of Monday afternoon amid thousands of interactions with protesters. The News4 I-Team's Jodie Fleischer reports.

Officers took protesters into custody. One man shouted "I am not an animal," repeatedly as officers carried him away.

Protesters continued chanting "George Floyd" and "Don't shoot!" as they came face-to-face with police when the curfew began.

The curfew was set to continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday and be in place again from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Bowser and Chief of Police Peter Newsham said. The curfew, a rare move for the District, was previously in effect Sunday and early Monday, starting at 11 p.m., as protests flared into clashes with law enforcement, looting and the setting of multiple fires.

"Let us find the people responsible who seem hell-bent on destroying our city,” Newsham said.

After recommending governors deploy more National Guard troops Monday, President Donald Trump said he would take action if states didn't heed the suggestion. "I will deploy the U.S. military and quickly solve the problem for them," he said.

Metro trains and buses will end service early. Restaurants and non-essential businesses must close, the mayor's chief of staff said.

The curfew follows nine weeks of restrictions on businesses and daily life because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Protests outside the White House were peaceful earlier Monday afternoon, Newsham said. The sound of power tools filled the air as businesses tried to clean up damage from the previous night.

Sixty-one U.S. Park Police officers and seven D.C. police officers were hurt in the clashes Sunday night and early Monday, officials said in updates later Monday.

After three nights of protests and unrest in D.C., the mayor instated a second night of curfews. News4's Mark Segraves reports.

Three Park Police officers were hospitalized, a representative said. One was hit in the head with a brick, one was hit in the groin with a brick and a third was thrown from his horse. The officer who was hit in the groin required surgery, sources said. 

Violent protesters’ actions forced the extension of the curfew, the police chief said.

“This will disrupt your lives. This is a decision that was forced upon us by the behavior of the people who are intent on coming to our city and destroying property and hurting people,” he said. 

Shomari Stone reports live from downtown D.C. as protestors prepare for another night of demonstrations. Stone spoke with the pastor of the church set on fire Sunday night.

"In the interest of public safety," all Metrorail service will be suspended one hour early, at 8 p.m., officials announced. Last trains will leave downtown transfer stations then, and trains headed toward downtown will end service earlier. All Metrobus service will be suspended two hours early, at 9 p.m. Buses that are already running at 9 p.m. will keep running until they reach the end of their lines. MetroAccess will not start any new trips after 9 p.m. 

The curfew order allows residents to go outdoors for essential purposes as defined in other orders. That appears to refer to the coronavirus stay-at-home order, which allowed residents to go out to get food, walk a dog, exercise and do other essential activities. Otherwise, the city will bar anyone from traveling by any mode of transportation in all parts of the District. Health care workers, members of the press and essential workers are exempt while they're on the job.

Anyone who violates the curfew could be charged a $300 fine or sentenced to up to 10 days in jail.

D.C. businesses are reeling with the aftermath of a night of riots and looting. They prepare for another night of potential damage. News4's Cory Smith reports.

“If you are not a member of the media or do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody. That is a warning," the police chief said.

Police may stop people to check their credentials and confirm they are allowed to be out during the curfew.

Hundreds of members of the D.C. National Guard was deployed to support U.S. Park Police, federal police and the Metro Police Department.

Eighty-eight people were arrested in the third night of protests Sunday and early Monday, and seven D.C. officers suffered minor injuries. Nine Metropolitan Police Department vehicles were damaged.

After hours of largely peaceful protests outside the White House, some protesters grew violent. A fire was set in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where presidents have attended services since the early 1800s. Graffiti stained the exterior.

Firefighters faced a "limited delay" as they tried to get through a large crowd, D.C. Fire & EMS Chief Gregory Dean said.

Historic St. John's Church was damaged during a night of unrest near the White House. News4's Aaron Gilchrist reports.

Unrest was reported as far from downtown as Tenleytown and Friendship Heights. Looters targeted a Target store, the Mazza Gallerie mall and shops in Georgetown.

The mayor praised “the American spirit of protest” but decried violence. 

“Every single American should be outraged by the death of George Floyd. However, smashed windows and looting are becoming a bigger story,” she said.

Half of those arrested were charged with felony rioting, a number were charged with burglary and about two-thirds face felony charges. Additional arrests are expected as police comb through public and private surveillance footage.

Chopper4 footage showed smoke from multiple fires rising up in front of the Washington Monument during Washington, D.C.'s third night of protests in response to the death of George Floyd.

People who were arrested were “largely from this region” but appear to have been “organized,” Newsham said. An investigation is underway on who may be responsible. Suspected organizers of violence will be prosecuted, the chief said. Rewards of $1,000 will be offered to anyone who helps identify them.

Bowser said on “Today” earlier Monday that some protesters had “tools and supplies” and used tactics to try to draw police to certain locations. 

Some protesters set fires and vandalized buildings as police tried to keep them off the streets in D.C. late Sunday night. News4's Shomari Stone reports.

Large protests began in D.C. on Friday, as they erupted in cities across the country. Protesters chanted, some clashed with officers and one woman climbed over a barrier outside the White House. Six people were arrested and multiple Secret Service officers were hurt.

Demonstrations on Saturday were peaceful for hours and then "a small number of people grew violent," the police chief said. Protesters threw objects at local and federal officers, and vandalized and looted businesses. Demonstrators set fire to scaffolding near The Hay-Adams hotel, sparking a dramatic blaze that D.C. firefighters were able to put out quickly. They also started fires in dumpsters and trashcans, spray painted police cars and shattered storefronts. 

Seventeen people were arrested Saturday and 11 D.C. police officers were hurt. Police identified several people who were arrested. All officers' injuries were considered non-life-threatening. One officer was in surgery after he was hit with a brick, injuring his leg.

Voting Tuesday in the D.C. Democratic primary will continue, the mayor said. Polls are scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You will be able to vote until 8 p.m. and not violate the curfew.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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