Around 150 to 200 vehicles — many with obscured or out-of-state license plates — were peacefully “escorted” by police away from Dunwoody’s Perimeter Mall area early on May 30 as rioters looted malls and shopping centers in Buckhead.

With the possibilities of protests or riots continuing amid the national controversy over George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, local police are advising public caution in the area.

An entrance to Perimeter Mall as it appeared in 2018 in a Google Maps image.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation very closely and are prepared to respond,” said Dunwoody Police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Parsons in an email. “We are not advising the public to avoid any specific locations, but obviously these types of events can occur suddenly and without notice, so it is advisable to avoid potential locations where unrest may occur for the time being.”

Perimeter Mall General Manager Bill Baker could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nationwide protests and riots erupted May 29 and into May 30 over the death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was a black man who died after a white police officer kept a knee on his neck for a lengthy period despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders that the action was killing him. The officer is now charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In Atlanta, a downtown protest produced rioting, first around CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park, then in and around Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls.

In Dunwoody, the vehicles gathered in the areas of Perimeter Mall at 4400 Ashford-Dunwoody Road and a Walmart at 4725 Ashford-Dunwoody.

“We had groups showing up in the Perimeter Mall area starting at about 1:40 a.m.,” said Parsons. “Throughout the next few hours, we had groups at Walmart and other businesses in that area as well. Officers were able to deter any looting and eventually the groups left the area without incident… No looting-related arrests occurred.”

Parsons said many of the vehicles were “packed with multiple occupants” and had covered-up or missing license plates. Among the vehicles with visible tags, “almost all of them were from out of state,” Parsons said.

Dunwoody Police were supported by officers from Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Chamblee, Parsons said.

Perimeter Mall has been making a slow comeback from a coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

In a separate incident around 4:20 a.m., DPD officers located a vehicle that had been reported as carjacked in Gwinnett County. The vehicle was spotted again in Sandy Springs and officers from both departments assisted in arrests, Parsons said.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.