San Francisco orders curfews, wants National Guard on standby after looting
San Francisco Mayor London Breed ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew that begins Sunday night and has asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to place the National Guard on standby to assist.
The call for help from the state came after peaceful protests lasted in San Francisco’s Civic Center through Saturday afternoon. But as night fell, there were increased levels of violence, police cars were vandalized and police officers were assaulted, Police Chief Bill Scott said. Storefront windows have been smashed on the city’s main commercial thoroughfare, Market Street.
“We cannot, and we will not tolerate that,” Scott said in a briefing just after 10 p.m. “Right now, as I speak, we have officers at Union Square dealing with looting, dealing with people breaking windows. Really, tearing down businesses that people have spent their lives to build.”
In the East Bay, TV news images showed looters entering stores in Emeryville, northwest of Oakland. There was no indication the looters were associated with any protests, local TV stations said, with looters carrying no signs or part of a planned march; rather, the looting was done by people who hauled merchandise into cars.
Breed, the first black woman elected mayor of San Francisco, said she understood the pain being felt across the city and country.
“Far too often we see this happen, time and time again: African American men who unfortunately lose their lives in this way,” Breed said. “I understand the hurt and the pain. I’ve lived through it growing up in the city.”
She said earlier peaceful protests Saturday, expressing hurt and anger, were understandable. But she said the violence and vandalism that occurred after nightfall crossed the line.
“We have a responsibility to protect our city. And we will do what we need to do to do just that,” Breed said just before she said the city was planning to implement a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Breed said she did not want to ask the governor to put the National Guard on standby but was forced to do so to ensure safety.
“This is the last thing I want to do as mayor. I want peace. I want protest. But I don’t want the kind of violence and crime we see playing itself across the streets of our city to continue,” Breed said. “And we have a responsibility to deal with it, and that’s exactly what we will do.”
Scott, once one of the Los Angeles Police Department’s highest-ranking officers, said as an African American man and as a chief of police, he can relate to what people are feeling.
“People have lost their lives at the hands of the police. And police officers have lost their lives doing their job. I understand both sides,” Scott said.
“We will help 1st Amendment activity that’s peaceful and that does not destroy our city and other people,” Scott said. “But again, we will not tolerate people getting hurt, people losing their lives because [of] selfish people who just want to destroy this city and this country.”
On Friday night, a Federal Protective Service officer was fatally shot and another officer was critically injured outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland in an incident that federal authorities described as an act of domestic terrorism.
The officers were keeping watch over a protest there, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the shooting was believed to be directly related to the unrest.
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