“This was a whole different group,” Oklahoma City police say violence not associated with original protesters


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After two days of protests across Oklahoma City regarding the death of George Floyd, Oklahoma City police released additional information about the arrests of several people.

On Monday, Oklahoma City Capt. Larry Withrow held a news conference to address the situation that unfolded around police headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

Withrow says the protest began at N.E. 36th and Kelley Ave. with thousands of Oklahomans. He says officers didn’t have any issues with the protesters there as they marched to the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Once at the Capitol, one protester began to spray paint the doors of the building but was immediately reprimanded by other protesters.

At that point, some of the protesters even worked to try and clean the damage from the doors.

The group told KFOR that they didn’t want their message misconstrued or dismissed because of the actions of a few people.

Withrow says the protesters then marched to police headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City.

In preparation for the protest, officials installed barriers to create ‘a very defined line’ between the protesters and police officers.

Even though the protesters were close by, Withrow says the interaction with them was good and even cordial at times. He says officers handed out water and spoke with some of the protesters.

However, things changed once the sun set.

Capt. Withrow says that the original group of peaceful protesters left the area and another group arrived.

“When the crowd changed around sunset, that was a whole different group of people. The original group that started protesting, they were very peaceful, although loud, but they were peaceful. There was no physical confrontation with police,” he said. “Once that changed, we got a new group of people who approached the barriers, then became violent with police.

He says this new group had a very different demeanor, adding that they began discharging fireworks and threw things at officers.

At that point, officers used non-lethal force to disperse the crowd.

Authorities say several businesses were damaged and 11 people were arrested on complaints like disorderly conduct, violating curfew, and assaulting an officer.

No officers were seriously injured.

Officials say dispatch, the municipal courts building, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum were all vandalized. There were also reports of damage to police vehicles.

Capt. Withrow added that he doesn’t know the exact number, but that several of the people who were arrested are not from Oklahoma.

Protesters gathered to protest George Floyd’s death beneath the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday, May 25.

Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, pinned his knee against the back of Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as Floyd, who was handcuffed, said he couldn’t breathe and pleaded for his life. Three other officers surrounded Floyd and helped keep him pinned to the ground as nearby citizens expressed concern that Floyd couldn’t breathe.

Floyd, 46, was unresponsive and did not have a pulse when EMS arrived to the scene, Minneapolis fire officials said in a report.

He was taken to a hospital, and emergency room staff worked for nearly an hour to revive him.

Floyd was officially pronounced dead 90 minutes after his encounter with Minneapolis police.

Chauvin was arrested on suspicion of third-degree murder. His bond was set at $500,000.

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