Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced that, in the interest of public safety, she has issued an Emergency Declaration that will implement a curfew for all Lincoln residents from 8 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Monday, June 1. During these hours, the only people permitted to be out of their homes are those who are going to work, seeking medical attention or seeking the assistance of law enforcement.
The curfew is in response to the violence that erupted Saturday night after an initially peaceful assembly to protest the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The riot resulted in injuries and property damage estimated in the tens of millions of dollars along Lincoln Mall between the State Capitol and the City-County government offices on 10th Street. It was the second night of violent protest in Lincoln.
"The protesters in Lincoln over the past few days have largely been peaceful and respectful. I fully support their calls for justice," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "Last night, however, a smaller handful of people who apparently have other agendas committed terrible acts of destruction. The perpetrators of this violence were not limited to a single race or ethnicity; many were white. I cannot and will not condone those physical acts of destruction. No one should. That honors no one."
The Mayor issued the Emergency Declaration at a news conference Sunday afternoon attended by Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister; Kameron Neeman, the organizer of the Black Lives Matter rally from 4 to 5:30 p.m. this evening at the State Capitol; and City Council members James Michael Bowers, Roy Christensen, Bennie Shobe, Tammy Ward, and Sändra Washington.
Under the Emergency Declaration, the Mayor has also requested support from the National Guard to help protect City infrastructure and businesses.
Mayor Gaylor Baird viewed the damage along Lincoln Mall today and thanked those who were helping to clean up. "I saw dozens of people pitching in to help clean up the damage from the night before - volunteers scrubbing graffiti and picking up shattered glass," she said. "To all the people whose businesses and buildings were damaged as a result of last night's events, know that we are dedicated to doing everything we can to prevent further needless destruction."
Chief Bliemeister said police officers were struck multiple times with bottles, fireworks, and rocks, and one officer was injured. He said there were three separate assaults reported by residents as a part of the protest. One person sustained a laceration, possibly from a knife.
Most of the property damage was from a fire at the Universal Inland Insurance building, 601 S. 12th. The Hall of Justice at 575 S. 10th has about $10,000 damage, and two bus shelters were destroyed. Four people were arrested for obstructing government operations and failure to disperse. A fifth person was arrested for obstructing government operations only.
"We can't let these conversations and our work for justice end," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "In the coming days, we will be creating opportunities to hold space for dialogue about racism, injustice, and inequality in our community. We also look to cultivate and support opportunities for listening and healing. Ultimately, the measure of our progress will be determined by not only what we do, but who we become as a result of this."