San Diego Protest Leads to Riot
Recent events show extremes of how a peaceful protest can turn into criminal charges for hundreds of people in California. On May 31, 2020, protesters in downtown San Diego marched in honor of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man, at a “Justice for George” event. But the protest dissolved into riots as protesters turned the demonstration into acts of violence.
Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pushed his knee on his neck, has inspired a wave of demonstrations across the country, the people of all ages and races calling for justice and chanting “black lives matter.” However, some protesters have abused the power of assembly and acted out in aggression on police officers and the community. Police officers first stepped in and issued an unlawful assembly order after observing aggression in parts of the crowd.
"Unlawful assembly order being given in the area of Broadway. We are asking everyone to disperse immediately due to the escalation of violence by the protestors," the San Diego Police Department said through Twitter.
While some dispersed peacefully, the police department needed to use tear gas to disperse what they called the remaining, “aggressive crowd.” Protesters threw rocks at law enforcement and vandalized police vehicles, the violence intensifying as the day went on. Rioters broke off from other protestors to vandalize businesses in the area, loot stores, and even commit arson. Dozens of cars and two banks in the La Mesa area were burnt down during the riot, the unrest fueled by anger over police mistreatment of African Americans.
From the rioting, over 1000 protesters have been arrested in San Diego and may face criminal charges. These people may now face charges that will be on their permanent record forever and could impact future opportunities.