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Protests’ violence overnight leaves damage, tension

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Business owners in Ferguson as well as Kansas City were assessing damage and cleaning up Sunday after protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the general treatment of blacks by police devolved into violence.

Gov. Mike Parson activated the Missouri National Guard on Saturday, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol was brought in to help local law enforcement agencies cope with the protests, which were expected to resume later Sunday.

The Missouri cities joined dozens around the country where protests were held over the death Monday of Floyd, who was black and handcuffed when a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground during an arrest. Floyd pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving. The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three others who took part in the arrest were fired, and Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers haven’t been charged.

In Kansas City, police restricted access to the popular County Club Plaza entertainment and business district early Sunday to allow business owners into the area. Local media reported that several businesses had broken windows, but damage estimates were not available.

About 50 people were arrested and 10 others suffered non-life-threatening injuries as of midnight, Kansas City police spokesman Capt. David Jackson said. Police used tear gas to try to disperse the protesters, who threw rocks and bottles at officers and set fire to a police car.

Kansas City native Martin Davis teared up as he viewed the scene on the plaza Sunday morning.

“There’s gotta be a better way,” Davis told KSHB-TV. “We can’t do it like this. We’ve been doing it like this for years. We’ve been doing it like this for years, and nothing has ever changed.”

Across the state in Ferguson – the St. Louis suburb whose name has been synonymous with the police treatment of blacks since the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer – seven officers were injured after being struck with rocks, bottles or fireworks during the overnight protest. At least 11 police and fire vehicles were damaged, as was the Ferguson police headquarters and many businesses, said Sgt. Benjamin Granda of the St. Louis County police department.

A “significant amount” of gunfire was heard in the area of the protests throughout the night, but no arrests were made, Granda said.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III issued a midnight curfew about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, but it was unclear if protesters knew about it.

Earlier Saturday, Lauren Davis, of Belleville, said she had gone to the Ferguson protest because she was tired of people telling African-Americans how they’re supposed to feel.

“How many more?” Davis said on St. Louis Public Radio. “Just give me a number and I’ll be happy. I want to know when we’re allowed to be upset about people losing their lives constantly.”

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