ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer held a news conference Wednesday after four days of demonstrations in the city surrounding the death of George Floyd.
Officials have decided to enforce an 8 p.m. curfew in downtown Orlando as demonstrations continue to sweep the streets throughout the state and country.
As demonstrations continue today, @OrlandoPolice is committed to protecting all residents and demonstrators. To do so, a new curfew will be in effect in downtown Orlando tonight beginning at 8 p.m. For the rest of the city, the curfew remains at 10 p.m. pic.twitter.com/vd5naWlIiW— City of Orlando (@citybeautiful) June 3, 2020
On Tuesday, around 2,000 peaceful demonstrators outside Orlando City Hall chanted “Black Lives Matter!" and “George Floyd" as cloudy skies threatened rain. They then walked more than a mile to the Orlando Police Department headquarters.
Nearly 50 minutes after the city’s 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, Orlando Police said officers deployed tear gas and smoke after “a few remaining participants” started throwing rocks and bottles at them.
“As you know, last night, we had to deploy tear gas as a measure to respond to the aggression that was being displayed against the officers,” Chief Rolón said.
During the news conference, Rolón said that the majority of the protest and demonstrations that took place in the city were peaceful.
“Unfortunately, some chose to not leave, and throw rocks and bottles at the officers, before the gas was deployed,” Rolón added. “It’s vital that everyone understands that the tear gas is as is used as a last resort.”
Two canisters of gas were deployed at the end of the night, officials said.
“We don’t like to use that to control our crowd but when rocks and bottles are thrown at our officers, we have to protect our officers and our citizens,” Rolón explained.
The curfew will affect most of the city’s downtown area.
“Mayor Dyer has consulted with everyone, and he will have an 8 p.m. curfew now for the downtown core that will be from Colonial Drive to 408, from Summerlin to Tampa,” Rolón said.
“That’s Summerlin to the east, Tampa to the west, Colonial to the north and the 408 to the south,” Dyer said.
The 10 p.m. curfew will remain throughout the remainder of the city.
According to officials, the curfew will help authorities manage violent protesters and vandalism.
“Unfortunately, some are capitalizing on the opportunity to affect the rest of the city. And for that reason, obviously, we’re having to escalate our level of response,” Rolón added.
During the protests, officers said a 29-year-old man attempted to stab officers with an exposed syringe.
Investigators said Ramsey Keith Moore was arrested on charges of attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon.
Officers said the incident happened around 7:30 p.m. while a crowd of protesters gathered at Robinson Street and Rosalind Avenue.
Police said it was unknown whether the needle had been used. The contents of the syringe were also not known.