Atlanta will be under a curfew and Dunwoody is advising residents to stay at home as local cities braced May 31 for a third night of protests and possible riots.
Police in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs said they are still considering whether to issue a stay-at-home advisory as protests related to the death of George Floyd began elsewhere. Sandy Springs saw minor looting at three locations on the night of May 29, the first night of protests and riots in Atlanta, police revealed.
Further protests on May 31 were starting in downtown Atlanta, and that afternoon a march was underway in Kennesaw.
The second night of Atlanta protests May 30 again spawned rioting, vandalism and looting downtown, where one police officer was seriously injured. However, police said protests were largely dispersed by 1:30 a.m. amid 157 arrests. A large protest at the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead ended with several arrests, and rioting did not appear to occur again in that neighborhood. After looting hit Phipps Plaza mall and other Buckhead shopping centers the previous night, the Atlanta Police Department and 1,500 Georgia National Guard troops fortified neighboring Lenox Square mall.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statewide emergency declaration that will extend through next weekend. Kemp said law enforcement had received information about potential unrest across the state, including Athens, Savannah and Macon. The emergency declaration activated 3,000 National Guard troops to respond to any incidents in the state.
Atlanta will be under curfew for a second night, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in a press conference. The curfew will begin at 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, and continue until sunrise Monday, June 1.
Target announced that its store in Buckhead’s Lindbergh Plaza, off Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard, is one of several nationwide stores it is preemptively closing. That store has seen repeated fires during the riots, including the night of May 30. The looting of a Target store in Minneapolis featured prominently in early coverage of the riots there and made the chain vulnerable to looting elsewhere. In the Buckhead rioting, another Target on Peachtree Road was looted. That store was originally on the preemptive closure list but was taken off quickly.
Dunwoody stay-at-home advisory
Dunwoody is home to the high-profile Perimeter Mall, on Ashford-Dunwoody Road near I-285, which saw 150-200 vehicles show up in middle of the night during the original Atlanta rioting. On May 30, the Dunwoody Police Department issued a call for residents to stay at home to avoid civil unrest and blocked off the mall as darkness fell. Others businesses were guarded as well.
“Thankfully, we had no incidents,” said DPD spokesperson Sgt. Robert Parsons, who said the stay-at-home advisory is still in effect. “We are prepared to respond if further incidents take place. The advisory is still in place since gatherings are still planned in the metro area and their locations are often unpredictable.”
Brookhaven and Sandy Springs on watch
Police departments in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs said they had yet to decide on issuing another stay-at-home advisory and were consulting other agencies. Both said they did not respond to any protests or disorder the previous night.
Sandy Springs did see one “small” protest at police headquarters on May 30. And police revealed that some looting occurred the night of May 29.
Sgt. Salvador Ortega, Sandy Springs Police Department spokesperson, said the looting targets included a Walgreens pharmacy on Roswell Road near the Buckhead border; the Fountain Oaks shopping center at 4920 Roswell Road; and a cellphone store elsewhere in the city. Officers “made a couple arrests of people that were here from out of state trying to loot,” Ortega said. Incident reports were not yet available.
The Sandy Springs Fire Department reported that one of its trucks was attacked and damaged by rioters while supporting the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department in responding to a blaze on May 29. SSFD posted video on its Facebook page showing the truck with broken and shattered windows.
“While responding the truck was attacked with bricks, rocks and other thrown objects,” SSFD wrote on the post. “The crew was very lucky and escaped injury.”
–John Ruch, Collin Kelley and Bob Pepalis