GALLERY: Day 4 of protests in Atlanta, metro area
From Marietta to Savannah, several Georgia cities have already seen large crowds show up in protest of police brutality and racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
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Earlier Monday, a second, independent autopsy determined that Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody, succumbed due to asphyxia. Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death, was seen on video pressing his knee against the man's neck, sparking outrage.
Tensions in the country were already high following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year.
The past three days of protests in Atlanta have started peacefully but devolved into chaotic scenes at times, leading to hundreds of arrests. Nearly 300 protesters were arrested in Atlanta between Friday night and Sunday night, Atlanta police said.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency following Friday night's violent showing, featuring burning police cars, damaged downtown businesses and looting in Buckhead. The Georgia National Guard has been deployed in several spots across the state, and they have the authority to make arrests.
Here are minute-by-minute updates from Monday’s protests:
11:30 p.m.: Atlanta police said that 43 additional arrests were made after Monday's 9 p.m. curfew went into effect, bringing the day's total number of arrests up to 95.
In a news release, Sgt. John Chafee said majority of protesters cleared the streets without incident but a few violent stragglers remained.
“A group of protesters remained inside Centennial Olympic Park and refused to leave,” Chafee said. “A number of them threw rocks and discharged fireworks toward officers. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd and a number of arrests were made.”
9:23 p.m.: Atlanta police announced that 52 arrests had been made as of 8 p.m. Monday. That means at least 350 people have been arrested in connection with these protests since Friday night.
“The curfew is now in effect and officers are working to ensure compliance with the curfew and making arrests where needed,” Sgt. John Chafee said in a news release.
9:15 p.m.: The straggling protesters have mostly scattered in downtown Atlanta as authorities begin sweeping through the streets. NewsChopper 2 found a few dozen who were running from police vehicles near the Olympia Building and Woodruff Park. It's unclear if anyone was detained.
9:04 p.m.: In areas where crowds have gone home, guardsmen in riot gear were seen removing their helmets and breathing sighs of relief that their night might be a short one.
9:03 p.m.: Minutes after Atlanta's curfew went into effect, guardsmen and officers began their march through downtown to sweep for crowds in violation.
9 p.m.: As the clock strikes 9 o'clock, the curfews for Atlanta and Lawrenceville officially go into effect. However, hundreds of protesters remain in downtown Atlanta in a face-off with authorities, including several National Guardsmen with riot shields.
The curfew will be in effect until sunrise Tuesday, so it’s unclear what actions authorities will take to enforce the curfew during that span.
8:45 p.m.: An announcement was just made outside the CNN Center that the curfew in Atlanta takes effect in 15 minutes. Several hundred protesters are still walking around in the area.
8:38 p.m.: With the curfew approaching, police in Lawrenceville told protesters to start heading home, but they didn't threaten arrests. Many closed the night with fists raised and a moment of silence. An organizer on the megaphone said: "We had a nice, peaceful protest ... Tell your friend, tell your neighbor — I know you have a cousin — tell everybody we're meeting up at the same time (Tuesday). Everybody be safe."
8:05 p.m.: In a tweet, Atlanta city officials promoted a moment when several police officers took a knee in solidarity with protesters.
7:55 p.m.: In Lawrenceville, trouble remains past the preset protesting area.
While most of the crowd remains in front of city hall, a few remain at the police line to chant at authorities. One of the protest’s organizers, frustrated at the stragglers, asked them, “Are you here for justice, or are you here to antagonize the police?”
7:49 p.m.: The downtown protest moved outside of the state Capitol building, where pepper spray was deployed, according to Channel 2 Action News. It's unclear what led to the escalation.
7:33 p.m.: Crowds downtown are coalescing at Marietta Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, with a small offshoot group at Woodruff Park, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
7:25 p.m.: Chelsia and Terry Moore brought their 13-year-old twins, Alana and Jordan. They wanted the children to have a chance to see their beliefs put into action. But Chelsia wasn't optimistic about the possible outcome. "It's going to get worse because the cops are probably going to be acquitted, or they won't get a serious enough sentence and then the city will really burn."
7:15 p.m.: Almost all of the protesters are back in the Lawrenceville city hall area. A few people are still challenging the officers at South Clayton and Seminary but it has been all verbal, with no escalation from either side.
7:10 p.m.: About 15 Humvees lined Ted Turner Drive near Centennial Olympic Park, presumably making preparations for the 9 p.m. curfew.
7:03 p.m.: Some protesters made sure to give a little love to National Guard members manning the perimeter of Centennial Olympic Park.
6:55 p.m.: Jaylon Ryan-Aymer, 12, a student at Clements Middle School, attended the protest with his parents and his little brother.
Did he think that the demonstration would have an impact? “I don’t think so because it’s the same thing people have been doing all along.”
6:53 p.m.: Gwinnett deputies and protesters are coming face to face as confrontations begin to erupt in Lawrenceville. Wesley Pearson, a candidate for Gwinnett County District Attorney, is trying to diffuse the situation. However, many protesters are getting into deputies' faces, asking them if they understand why people are angry and frustrated with cops.
6:45 p.m.: Near Centennial Park, protesters surrounded two Georgia State Patrol squad cars and blocked Spring Street and North Avenue.
With the iconic Varsity in the background, 24-year-old Asante Hill led chants of “no justice, no peace” and “say his name, George Floyd.”
“When my grandchildren and my children ask me where I was and what I said and what I did, I want the answer to be right here,” Hill said.
6:28 p.m.: Gwinnett County deputies are threatening to arrest protesters in Lawrenceville if they do not return to the preset protest area in front of city hall. This comes shortly after the crowd kicked over barriers and moved to Clayton and Luckie streets.
6:15 p.m.: Protesters in Lawrenceville kicked over barriers at Branson Street and are walking past the preset protest area. Police aren't stopping them. Others are trying to get the crowd to stick to the sidewalk now that they've left the designated area. Police cars with lights and sirens are stopping the march at the intersection of Clayton and Luckie streets.
6:10 p.m.: Downtown Atlanta protesters are moving along Carnegie Way near Centennial Olympic Park.
5:55 p.m.: Gov. Brian Kemp took to Twitter to comment on the protesters who briefly blocked traffic on the Downtown Connector. He said that about 55 people were arrested and charged with being in the road.
"State law enforcement immediately responded and contained the crowd next to Trinity United Methodist Church with the assistance of the Atlanta police, Department of Corrections, and Department of Natural Resources officers along with Georgia (National) Guard troops," he said.
Those protesters are being processed at the Atlanta City Detention Center.
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5:50 p.m.: Andrew Brown, a Lawrenceville resident, was among the first to grab a megaphone at the protest at the city's center.
“Stay fired up. This is something new to Lawrenceville. We’re tired. We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We have to make our voices heard,” the middle-aged black man said, adding that protesters don’t intent to leave soon.
Brown said he hopes Georgia adopts some form of hate crime bill.
“My grandmother marched in the civil rights movement, and here I am in Georgia marching against police brutality,” he said.
While other speakers on the megaphone denounced police violence against black people, they also made a point to say that Lawrenceville police officers monitoring the demonstration are not to blame.
“We need to look at these cops right now,” Bradley Martin, a young black man, said. “They’re not the people who killed George Floyd. They’re protecting us right now.”
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5:45 p.m.: During an interview on CNN, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms criticized the actions of President Donald Trump.
“(Trump) is destabilizing things with his unstable behavior,” she said. “... What I see right now is a man who has no interest in doing better for the people of this country.”
Bottoms added that she sees and hears those who are protesting on the streets.
5:33 p.m.: Around noon Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered at Atlanta's city hall to protest state lawmakers' failure to pass a hate crimes bill and the police killings of people of color.
Gerald Griggs, second vice president of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, urged the protesters to stay in the streets.
“The blood of black and brown bodies are more precious than any property,” Griggs said. “I would hope that you remain peaceful and non-violent like you always have, but I am going to tell you this, if ya'll (state and local lawmakers) don’t pass comprehensive police reform, if ya'll don't pass comprehensive civil rights legislation in the birthplace of civil rights, if ya'll don't lock these cops up, then there's only one message we are going to deliver: No justice! No peace!’”
Two city council members, Antonio Brown and Matt Westmoreland, also encouraged the crowd to continue the protest.
“We have to be smart,” Brown said. “We have to organize strategically. It is pointless to march without a plan, without a mission, without a call to action.”
Westmoreland urged the protesters to keep pushing and keep demanding.
“You are the reason that we will have more affordable housing in this city,” he said. “You are the reason that our economic development strategies will change. You are the reason that for the first time in 50 years, we can make progress in a city that has not done right for the vast majority of our African American residents.”
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5:30 p.m.: Lawrenceville city officials issued a state of emergency as a planned protest begins outside of city hall.
“Lawrenceville Mayor David Still declares a State of Emergency in the City of Lawrenceville due to unlawful assemblage and disruption of peace affecting the lives and property of citizens,” the city said in a news release.
The full emergency order, along with the order establishing the city's 9 p.m. curfew, can be accessed by clicking here.
5:15 p.m.: A crowd of about 100 people has come together in Lawrenceville, growing from approximately 30 people who kicked off the planned protest at 5 p.m.
Authorities have blocked off three city blocks along South Clayton Street near city hall. In addition, a Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office bus is visible at the site.
5 p.m.: Hundreds of protesters are gathered at Marietta Street at Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The crowd is gathered after an afternoon protest moved from the steps of City Hall to the Downtown Connector, briefly blocking southbound traffic near Washington Street.
Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Another group, which is relatively small, has formed along Washington Drive and Memorial Street, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. Drivers are recommended to avoid both areas.
There are police presences at both spots, which includes a large number of Georgia State Patrol troopers and guardsmen.
— Staff writers Stephen Deere and Eric Stirgus contributed to this article.