NewsLocal News / May 31, 2020

Sunday Night Starts With Tear Gas, But City Streets Go Quiet Under Curfew

Sunday Night Starts With Tear Gas, But City Streets Go Quiet Under Curfew

Demonstrators flee tear gas at the corner of New York Street and Capitol Ave. According to protesters, they had blocked traffic on Capitol by kneeling in the street, and IMPD officers shot tear gas canisters in front and behind them.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Downtown Indianapolis streets were quiet Sunday night as a county-wide curfew kept people at home.

News reports showed empty streets in the heart of downtown as the clock approached midnight,  but about six hours earlier it appeared the city might be heading into a third night of unrest.

Indianapolis police used tear gas to disperse groups of protesters well ahead of the curfew that was set to begin at 8 p.m.

During a press conference at the start of the curfew, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor said he did not have specific details of events that led up to police using tear gas, but said he heard officers felt they were being surrounded by protesters. 

"I'm confident that the officers that have used tear gas or pepper balls did so in a righteous fashion," Taylor said.  

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the curfew late Sunday morning, following a second consecutve night of viloence in the city that left two people dead, and several businesses damaged.

It prohibits traveling public streets or being in public places throughout Marion County from 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday. Exceptions to the order include individuals traveling directly to or from work, seeking medical care, or fleeing from dangerous circumstances. Law enforcement; members of the news media; federal, state, or local public officials conducting necessary work; and individuals experiencing homelessness are also exempt.

Violation of the curfew is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines worth up to $10,000.

Taylor said police provided warnings to the crowds asthe curfew approached, and gave those in the area an opportunity to leave. He urged protestors to return home.

"To those people who are downtown, I'm asking you to please go home. Go home for yourself. Go home for your family. Go Home for your city. Go home for your cause," Taylor said. "There's nothing you will prove tonight by violating this order."  

Photos posted to social media by local journalists shortly after the curfew took effect, showed a quiet downtown. 

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