Second night of violent Atlanta protests end with more damage, 157 total arrests

Atlanta is working to recover after the second night of violent protest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Passers-by on Peachtree Street were up early Sunday morning taking photos of smashed windows, graffiti, and more from the overnight clash between protestors and police.

At the intersection of Peachtree and Williams Street, a credit union had both of its large windows completely destroyed. The same thing happened to nearby Wilbourne Sisters Designs, who had attempted to stop the destruction by placing a "black-owned business" sign in the window. 

The violence came after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms placed a curfew on the city from 9 p.m. Saturday to sunrise on Sunday, calling it a “very unusual and extreme step.”

MORE: Officer seriously injured after being struck by ATV during Atlanta protests

Bottoms, who made a passionate and personal plea to protesters the night before, also noted that Friday’s demonstration, which began peacefully, took place amid a pandemic.

“If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week,” she said. “There is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.”

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said at a news conference that they would have a zero-tolerance policy Saturday night.

“Yes, you caught us off balance once. It’s not going to happen twice,” she said, later adding, “Quite frankly, I’m ready to just lock people up.”

MORE: 'Not Atlanta': Mayor Bottoms condemns violent Atlanta riots

The behavior of the violent protesters Friday was markedly different from what they normally see, Shields said, calling them anarchists and a “highly calculated terrorist organization.”

“I don’t say that loosely,” she said. “When you come in and your goal is to inflict harm, damage, property damage, without any regard for human life, you are a terrorist.”

Minutes before the curfew took effect Saturday night, police in downtown Atlanta appeared to use tear gas, causing hundreds of protesters to scatter. Police then began using zip-tie handcuffs and detaining protesters who refused officers’ directions to leave. 

SEE MORE: Falcons owner Arthur Blank calls for unity following violent protests

Protesters across from the street from the Georgia governor’s mansion threw objects at authorities lined up in front of the property Saturday evening. Gov. Brian Kemp was not inside the home at the time. In total, Atlanta police say they arrested 157 people on Friday and Saturday night.

Saturday night's violence and arrest came after a first protest turned violent on Friday when groups heavily damaged buildings including the College Football Hall of Fame and downtown Atlanta restaurants.

Street cleaning crews and volunteers cleaned up debris as curious residents surveyed the aftermath. Graffiti on the big logo outside the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta had already vanished.

Atlanta was just one city shaken by tumult and violence late Friday that erupted over Floyd’s death. Large demonstrations in New York, Houston, Washington, D.C., and dozens of other cities ranged from people peacefully blocking roads to repeated clashes with police. One person was killed in Detroit after someone fired shots into a crowd of protesters.

Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who worked for the Minneapolis Police Department, is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Floyd died after the 44-year-old Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.