ORLANDO, Fla. – Here’s the latest on protests taking place in Central Florida following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed earlier this week by a now-fired Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck until he drew his last breath.
Continue reading below for a timeline of the demonstrations in Orlando and across Central Florida.
[WARNING: The videos below may contain inappropriate language | Discretion is advised]
Protestors gathered on I-4, according to Orlando police.
Protestors gathered at Lake Eola Park. Demonstrators at the scene told News 6 they plan to march toward Orlando City Hall later Sunday evening.
Officers with the Orlando Police Department also gathered to ensure the protest was peaceful.
Demonstrators continued to protest on the International Speedway Boulevard bridge where an increasing law enforcement presence also gathered.
Protestors held signs and pickets that demanded justice for George Floyd and an end to “police violence.”
Protests continued in Daytona Beach along International Speedway Boulevard.
News 6 was there are police arrived to supervise the protests which have remained peaceful.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office recognized the demonstrators’ presence and thanked them for expressing their sentiments peacefully.
The protest I saw today is exactly what America should aspire to. We handled some traffic issues & helped a few who had heat exhaustion. Other than that, you really didn't need us. Thank you to all who marched peacefully & w/out damaging the community we all live in. We hear you https://t.co/aUZywbuwGw— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) May 31, 2020
VCSO shared video of protests in Port Orange, Daytona Beach Shores and Daytona Beach in a Twitter post.
Officers with the Orlando Police Department arrived at Lake Eola where a protest was planned for Sunday afternoon. A pretest had taken place in the same area Saturday evening.
Demonstrators were seen gathering in Daytona Beach along International Speedway Boulevard and Beach Street around 1:45 p.m. Sunday.
Protestors held signs and waved as cars passed by, occupying surrounding sidewalks.
Demonstrators held signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” and “End Police Violence,” among other sentiments.
During a Sunday afternoon news briefing held by county and city leaders, as well as local law enforcement officials, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón spoke on the police response to the protests Saturday night.
Rolón began by commending his officers in their response to the protests, saying he was proud of their professionalism.
“The peaceful demonstration began yesterday at the (Pulse Nightclub) site. There were approximately, at 2 p.m., a second group of demonstrates gathered at Lake Eola at approximately the same time. The group at Pulse proceeded to march peacefully towards City Hall,” Rolón said. “Both groups went on to eventually converge at the Court House with a peaceful demonstration. After that, they moved towards I-4. Some attempted to march up the ramp to close I-4.”
Rolón said OPD officers peacefully rerouted protestors back onto the roadways and off the ramp for their safety.
“While the demonstration was in downtown as an individual was taken into custody by some of the officers after he battered the officer, some in the group attempted to intervene," Rolón said. "They began to try to pull the individual way they began to throw fireworks at the officers. In order to stop the aggression towards the officers, they used their pepper spray - a chemical agent.”
Rolón said two males were arrested in Downtown Orlando Saturday night.
Demonstraters additionally blocked the roadway on the 408 and Rolón said officers pleaded with demonstrators to disperse. After five hours of peaceful protests, Rolón said demonstrators began to thrown rocks and bottles at officers.
Rolón said that as demonstrators began arriving in the Millenia area, vandalism at six nearby businesses was reported. The chief said eight people were arrested in connection to the vandalism.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said two deputies were struck with concrete by protestors Saturday night, but fortunately did not sustain any serious injuries. He continued to say that “about half a dozen properties in Orange County were damaged” by protestors, and a bottle of gasoline was found. As a result, Mina said two arrests were made.
During the news conference, Mina said deputies arrested two females who were seen defacing the Windermere home of the former officer involved in Floyd’s death. Mina said the women were arrested during a traffic stop for criminal mischief.
During a Sunday afternoon news briefing held by county and city leaders, as well as local law enforcement officials, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced that as a result of the protests, a curfew would be put in place for the county.
“Because of some things that have happened within the last 24 hours, where we saw some destruction of some properties, I am compelled to announce that we will be enacting a curfew in unincorporated Orange County.”
Demings said the curfew would be put in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.
Orlando officials said the curfew would be put into effect for the city as well.
Effective tonight, May 31, Orange County, including Orlando, is under curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.— City of Orlando (@citybeautiful) May 31, 2020
“I can stand here as an African American, a father of three African American males, a grandfather of five children and one male, as the son of a man who was born in the south in Alabama and lives on at nearly 98 years old, the racism that we have in America I certainly experienced, and so I get it when it comes to understanding the call to action we are seeing all across America,” Demings said. “But as we respond to that call to action, I believe that response has to be one that is thoughtful and peaceful with a healthy respect for the rule of law... we can not as a civilized society accept violence and destruction of property of others.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón held a news conference Sunday at 12:00 p.m. to discuss updates and answer questions regarding the Saturday night protests.
That briefing can be viewed below:
Several stores near the near Mall at Millenia were broken into and vandalized overnight.
Businesses such as The Container Store, Krispy Kreme, Panda Express, Verizon and Jared had windows smashed as protestors roamed the area.
Officers told News 6 several people stole items from a Super Target nearby as well.
Store employees spoke to News 6 in the early afternoon hours; one of the owners of Krispy Kreme said his staff had no choice but to leave the shop Saturday night because the situation was proving too dangerous for staff.
He said no one was hurt but that the business did receive major damage.
Famous Footwear near International Drive also became a target and had windows smashed by protestors.
Orlando police confirm at least six arrests were made while officers attempted to break up a group of protesters who were blocking traffic on State Road 408 earlier in the day.
Officials said the demonstration began as a peaceful one but when officers asked demonstrators to clear the area, some began throwing objects at officers, prompting them to deploy a chemical agent in an effort to break up the crowd, police said.
“Officers will maintain a presence throughout the city and monitor activity overnight, looking out for the safety of our citizens, our peaceful demonstrators, and our local businesses,” a spokesperson for the police department said.
About 100 protesters were still outside police headquarters around 11:30 p.m.
News 6′s Lauren Cervantes reports on protests held in downtown Orlando:
News 6 investigator Mike DeForest, who was reporting from Lake Eola, said around 10:40 p.m. that he could no longer see any protesters from where he was located. Several who passed him on their way home told DeForest the demonstration they were a part of had concluded.
In a tweet from the Orlando Police Department, Chief Orlando Rolon addresses the demonstrations that took place in downtown Orlando, saying the gathering on State Road 408 Saturday afternoon began as a peaceful protest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week but took a turn when some protesters began throwing objects at Orlando officers who asked demonstrators who were blocking traffic to clear the area.
The actions of the protesters prompted officers to deploy a chemical agent in hopes of breaking up the crowd, Rolon said. According to Orlando police, at least six arrests were made in the process. Police said small groups of demonstrators still gathered in other parts of the city at that time.
Hear Rolon’s full remarks in the video below:
Demonstrators in downtown Orlando gather around a News 6 vehicle while protesting following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Protesters have made their way to the bandshell at Lake Eola Park and are moving south on Rosalind Avenue toward the Orange County administrative building and the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, according to News 6 crews.
Protesters gathered following the death of George Floyd forced the shutdown of State Road 408 in Orlando, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Protesters along South and Division, from this evening pic.twitter.com/0S9093Bl8Y— Lauren Cervantes (@LaurenNews6) May 31, 2020
Troopers said about 20 officers were on hand as well as dozens of citizens at State Road 408 at Orange Blossom Trail.
[George Floyd’s death: Here’s 5 ways you can take action]
The protest in Orlando is one of several taking place across the U.S. following the death of Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Rain fell in Orlando Saturday night, clearing some protesters from State Road 408 and allowing authorities to reopen the area to traffic.
[THE LATEST: Curfews ordered in more than dozen US cities]
Even after the rain, demonstrators continued marching and chanting “No justice, no peace” near the Amway Center in downtown Orlando.
Orlando protest going down orange crossing robinson at time of tweet pic.twitter.com/EiW75JAPrM— Shaman PhatRequiem (@PhatRequiem) May 31, 2020
In another video, a large group of protesters could be heard chanting “black lives matter.”
News 6 crews also saw protesters gathering outside Orlando Police headquarters.
Protests in other major U.S. cities have taken violent turns, with police vehicles being set ablaze in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, according to reports. Protesters have also vandalized and looted businesses throughout the country following the news of Floyd’s death.
The officer seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he drew his last breaths is now facing charges in connection with his death. Now-fired officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Chauvin was also accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Floyd as he pleaded that he could not breathe, while Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a store.
Chauvin, who was fired along with three other officers who were at the scene, faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of murder.
An attorney for Floyd’s family welcomed the arrest but said he expected a more serious murder charge and wants the other officers arrested, too, according to the Associated Press.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted about the protests Saturday night, saying he supports peaceful demonstrations and hopes they will bring change.
What happened to George Floyd was horrific and unacceptable. In our city, we will always support the right for residents to safely protest to show their anger and frustration over injustices like this. Together we should use our voices to peacefully enact change.— Mayor Buddy Dyer (@orlandomayor) May 31, 2020
While visiting Central Florida on Saturday to witness the launch of American astronauts from U.S. soil, President Donald Trump spoke about the protests taking place across the country, saying he would not tolerate mob violence during the demonstrations over Floyd’s death.
Trump says the rule of law is the crown jewel of the country and that “my administration will stop mob violence and we’ll stop it cold.”
Trump says that “I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace, and I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace. Healing, not hatred. Justice not chaos are the missions at hand.”
They tear gassing us in orlando, after we were all peacefully protesting. @cnnbrk @CNN @ABC @ABC2020 @ABCNewsPR @WFTV @NBCNews @TMZ @orlandosentinel @WESH2Sunrise #orlandoprotest #orlandoprotests #OrlandoFL pic.twitter.com/TRArcCOZzN— vintage_kimble (@tylerk14) May 31, 2020
At last check, curfews had been issued in more than one dozen U.S. cities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates.