The Arkansas State Police says that the combined police force of nine federal, state, county, and city law enforcement agencies arrested a total of 79 state residents June 2 related to the Little Rock protests of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The joint operation consisted of law enforcement officials from the state police, Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Sherwood Police Department, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, Arkansas Highway Police, Arkansas Game and Fish, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
State police say the arrests follow repeated warnings to protesters in the streets following Little Rock’s 8:00 p.m. curfew imposed by mayor Frank Scott.
Governor Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Tuesday afternoon authorizing the law enforcement crackdown. The state of emergency order followed three straight nights of protests that ended with incidents of vandalism at the Capitol building and downtown businesses, police say.
According to police, the arrests occurred at 10:30 p.m. after protesters were told they were in violation of the city’s curfew and left the Governor’s Mansion at 1800 Center Street. As protesters walked northward from the mansion along Broadway Street, police say an unidentified person in the large group shattered a glass doorway at the McDonald’s on 7th Street.
Police also believe the protesters were responsible for the vandalism at the Pulaski County Courthouse. Law enforcement then assigned the unified team to converge on the group at the Broadway Bridge and begin making arrests.
According to police, at least two taken into custody were armed with pistols and one attempted to hide the gun before being escorted by police to the Pulaski County Detention Center.
Protests have occurred throughout the country in relation to the death of Floyd, who was killed while in custody of Minneapolis police on May 25.