SAVANNAH, GA (June 1, 2020) – Yesterday afternoon, the Savannah Police Department assisted in a peaceful demonstration in Downtown Savannah, protesting about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
After being notified about a protest scheduled for Sunday, May 31 from Johnson Square to City Hall, SPD began planning to ensure participants had the opportunity to protest peacefully and safely. The official protest began at 2 p.m. and ended around 3:00 p.m. without incident.
For safety purposes, SPD as well as partner agencies continued to monitor participants as they began to disband and march through additional areas Downtown. Moving closer to the evening, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II signed an order to enact a curfew between 8:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. the following morning. This decision was made to combat any potential disturbances overnight.
During that time, SPD began educating lingering protest participants, community members and businesses about the curfew. Due to a small group of protesters acting disorderly and refusing to comply with the curfew, pepper balls were deployed in the area of the group in order to gain their compliance. None of the individuals required medical attention due to the deployment.
During the evening, SPD made 16 arrests, with one being a felony arrest for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Out of the 16 arrestees, three were from areas outside of Chatham County. With 30 charges between the 16 individuals, 11 were for disorderly conduct, 10 for curfew violation, five for obstruction, two for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, one for loitering and prowling and one for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“In its totality, I am extremely proud of the protest participants for remaining peaceful and our officers and partner agencies for acting with professionalism and respect,” said Chief of Police Roy Minter. “The purpose of this protest was to shed light on the tragic death of George Floyd and speak out about inequalities and the conduct of some law enforcement officers. I believe that was accomplished yesterday, and the few disturbances during the evening did not overshadow this purpose. The relationship between SPD and the community will remain a core area of focus for us. We will continue to expect nothing less than professionalism, respect, integrity, dedication and excellence from our department members.”