RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh’s mayor has extended its curfew through the weekend in the wake of a week of protests across the city.
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin acknowledged that this curfew will cause hardships.
“This is not an easy decision. I recognized this will cause hardship for many in our community who have already suffered under the pressures of COVID19 and the violence from the week,” Baldwin said.
The 10 p.m. curfew will run through Sunday night.
The curfew was in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for three nights. Baldwin amended the curfew so it ran from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Thursday.
Baldwin credited this week’s curfew to helping curb vandalism that happened during protests Saturday and Sunday in Raleigh.
Baldwin said on Sunday morning that she had asked for a state of emergency declaration in case a curfew was needed.
She did not put one in place for Sunday and said she regretted not doing so.
“It’s a regret I will live with,” she said.
Baldwin says the goal of the curfews this week was to to prevent injuries, destruction of property and to avoid making arrests.
A total of eight arrests were made in connection with violating the curfew – none on Thursday.
Protests descended into chaos on Saturday which left several businesses and other property downtown damaged.
Sunday saw more clashes with police and protesters downtown and at the Executive Manson.
“Centuries of racial discrimination have brought us here,” Baldwin said.
The protests are in the wake of the death of George Floyd while being arrested by police in Minneapolis. Four officers have been charged in his death.
Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown also spoke Friday morning where she spoke about the destruction on Fayetteville Street and its aftermath.
“Anarchy is not a peaceful protest,” she said.
RPD has received criticism for officers’ use of tactical gear and tear gas over the weekend.
Deck-Brown defended her department, saying officers responded after a group tried to storm the sally port of a Wake County municipal building, and threw rocks at officers.”None of us can afford to allow officers, or citizens to get hurt,” said Deck-Brown. “When it changed, we have to respond too because then individuals are literally being harmed out there.”
Deck-Brown blamed the media for not calling 911 amid the violence.
“But just as quickly as you showed, and I’m speaking to our media, just as quickly as you showed a camera and someone breaking a window at North Hills and damaging property, somebody could have picked up a telephone and called 911, too,” the chief of Raleigh police said. “Everybody has a responsibility when they see this type of behavior happening in our city.”
Deck-Brown said officers changed their tactics during the week as protests remained peaceful. The chief spoke with protesters Thursday who were out past the city-wide curfew.
“Please don’t think because I’m in this uniform, I don’t get discriminated against,” she said.
Protesters and community activists have called for Deck-Brown to step down if changes to RPD policies, including use of force, aren’t made.
Mayor Baldwin says city council fully supports Deck-Brown.
“She has years of experience. She has always been courageous, compassionate, professional and demonstrated grace. We have her back now, and we support her,” said Baldwin.
At its next meeting, city council will begin to appoint citizens to the Police Advisory Board.
Baldwin say two weeks ago there were only seven applications, but there are now more than 100. “It’s important to have that transparency, and I think the public is looking for us to act with urgency,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin wants their first order of business to review the #8cantwait campaign, a list of eight policies to decrease police violence.
Deck-Brown says as an accredited department RPD already follows strict guidelines.
“Policy isn’t perfect, absolutely not. What I believe will come out of the advisory board is an opportunity to review our policies and make then even stronger than they are,” said Deck-Brown.
According to the #8cantwait website RPD already followed five of the eight recommendations.
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