Tear Gas Used On Walnut Creek Protestors

Megan Goldsby
June 02, 2020 - 10:21 am

    A largely peaceful protest in Walnut Creek Monday afternoon ended when police used tear gas on the crowd after the 6 p.m. curfew.

    Thousands attended a large gathering in the city’s Civic Park to protest the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death has sparked a national outcry after video emerged showing now former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, while Floyd was in restraints and laying face down. 

    “I’m here because I think with everything that’s happened, all the black people that have died, I think it’s pretty messed up,” said one protestor. “Because police don’t really care about us. It’s been going on and it just hasn’t stopped so I’m here to really take a stand.”

    Chauvin has been arrested and three other officers who were on the scene and did not intervene have been fired. Protestors are calling for all of the officers to face charges and for wider police reforms nationwide.

    Police told store owners in the city’s adjacent downtown and commercial district not to open and many windows were boarded up but there was some looting and vandalism after the city’s curfew went into effect. 

    While he does not agree with looting, the protestor said he understands where the anger is coming from. “That’s not something that I see is going to make the biggest changes, but enough is enough. Something needs to happen and if violence is the only way they can be heard, then I support them.”

    Protestors kneeled in front of police in the city's downtown as the curfew approached. Within 40 minutes of curfew falling, tear gas was deployed on the crowd when protestors did not disperse.

    In a statement on twitter, Walnut Creek police say actions were taken to disperse the crowd after curfew. “Officers are dispersing those engaging in criminal activity, and those refusing to leave in compliance with the curfew order. Several arrests have been made.”

    Another protestor said she has noticed a change in the way her community is responding to the death of George Floyd.

    “It was so stark and so shocking and so extreme in so many ways. We cannot ignore it,” and national shelter in place orders may have helped focus the country, she says. “I’ve been a social activist most of my life and it hasn’t worked… and I think a whole bunch of us all over the country are just heartbroken. I’m upset about the property damage, but thank god it’s only property.”

    Police reported some minor injuries to both officers and protestors and several arrests.