Volunteers clean up damage morning after fire set, stores looted during Fayetteville protests

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville officials said an overnight curfew is necessary after protests and violence on Saturday.

Damage occurred in several locations during the protests, which have happened all over the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The damage included storefronts on Hay Street, a fire at the historic Market House in downtown Fayetteville, and looting at Cross Creek Mall and the Skibo Road Walmart.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of people went to those locations in Fayetteville to volunteer to clean up. They said they wanted to show that Fayetteville is better than what happened on Saturday night.

“All over, the community needs help, and it’s amazing how Fayetteville has stepped out,” said volunteer Melissa Boyer.

It was a spontaneous effort.

“My wife and I actually started downtown Hay Street by Market House where it was set ablaze,” said volunteer Jeff Mews. “We saw hundreds of people cleaning up, so we figured our efforts would be best somewhere else where they were fewer people.”

Mews said he ended up at the Walmart that had been targeted.

“The whole front of the garden center was destroyed. They had knocked all kinds of stuff over and trashed it,” he said. “There was all kinds of broken glass in the parking lot.”

Mews and other volunteers went to work outside the store, pitching in because destruction wasn’t the message they wanted to send.

“I know they’re fighting for justice and all, but destruction of your own city is not something you should be doing,” said volunteer Chris Brown. “I don’t believe in it or condone it at all.”

Mayor Mitch Colvin claimed Saturday’s unrest isn’t reflective of Fayetteville or its citizens.

“We have people who are agitators, who came in for one purpose to create destruction and chaos,” Colvin said.

To prevent a repeat of the Saturday riots, Fayetteville imposed an overnight curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and asked that future protests be put on hold.

The organizers of a protest planned for Monday along Skibo Road near the Walmart confirmed Sunday that they have decided to reschedule the event. The group “Let’s Make It Happen Together” said the protest would be moved to June 13.

“Until we can identify who may be coming into the community to loot, steal, attack, or whatever it may be, we need you to stand down for a second in regards to your business,” said police chief Gina Hawkins. “We need to see who is coming in and out of our community.”

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