Tensions grow as protests reach Oklahoma City police headquarters

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Protests in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After several hours of peaceful protests in Oklahoma City following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, things took a dangerous turn.

The protests began at the intersection of N.W. 23rd and Classen Blvd. around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday where protesters blocked traffic.

Officers attempted to clear the area several times throughout the evening, and 13 people were arrested on complaints of vandalism and assault on officers.

KFOR has been told that the officers who were assaulted were not seriously injured.

“We want everyone to exercise their right to protest, but please do so peacefully,” the department posted on Twitter.

The protests moved from the intersection to the Plaza District and then ended in downtown Oklahoma City near police headquarters.

Shortly before midnight, officers began firing tear gas into the crowd to disperse the protesters and gave them warnings to go home.

Even after tear gas was fired into the crowd, the protesters would disperse for a short time before reconvening and moving closer toward police headquarters.

Officials with the Oklahoma City Police Department said that protesters threw rocks and bricks at officers and patrol cars during the protest.

At one point, a patrol car belonging to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office was set on fire near the Oklahoma County Jail.

Patrol car set on fire

Also, windows at the Oklahoma County Jail were broken.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, protesters began bringing milk and food to prepare for an extended time at the headquarters.

As the early morning hours progressed, additional protesters were dropped off at the scene and the crowds continued to grow.

Protesters told KFOR that at times, officers were using non-lethal bullets in an attempt to get protesters to move back and disperse.

Just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Oklahoma City police warned that a small crowd gathered again at N.W. 23rd and Classen, adding that several business have been vandalized and burglarized. There have been reports that the Walgreens at the intersection was targeted.

At the same time, officials announced that members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office were moved outside the Oklahoma County Jail to protect the facility from protesters.

Around 1:30 a.m., KFOR received more reports of rubber bullets being shot into the crowd.

Minutes later, Oklahoma City police began moving further away from headquarters and started putting pressure on the protesters to clear out. As that happened, some protesters could be seen throwing water bottles at officers.

At that point, many protesters decided to leave the area.

Drivers and members of the Oklahoma City community are being encouraged to avoid the area due to the situation.

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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