Police and protesters clash as US cities suffer violent weekend

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Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend, with protesters clashing with federal agents outside a Portland, Oregon courthouse, forcing Seattle police to retreat to a police station and torching vehicles in California and Virginia.

A protest against police brutality in Austin, Texas turned murderous when a witness said the driver of a car driving through a crowd of protesters opened fire on an armed protester who approached the vehicle . And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colo., After a car drove through a protest there, authorities said.

The Saturday and Sunday morning unrest stemmed from weeks of protests against racial injustice and police treatment of people of color that erupted after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd, who was black and handcuffed, died after a white cop used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while Floyd asked for air.

In Seattle, police retired to a neighborhood station early Sunday, hours after large protests in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Some protesters lingered after officers showed up in the eastern part of the department around 1 a.m., but most were evacuated soon after, according to a video posted online.

At a late-night press conference, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best called for peace. Stones, bottles, fireworks and mortars were fired at police during the weekend unrest, and police said they arrested at least 45 people for assaulting officers, obstruction and failure to disperse . Twenty-one police officers were injured, most of their injuries considered minor, police said.

In Portland, thousands gathered on Saturday night for another night of protests against the murder of George Floyd and the presence of federal agents recently sent to the city by President Donald Trump. Protesters smashed a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse where officers were stationed.

Police said the situation was a riot and at around 1:20 a.m. they began ordering people to leave the courthouse area or risk arrest, claiming on Twitter that the violence had created “serious risk” for the public. About 20 minutes later, federal agents and local police could be seen attempting to clear the area and deploy tear gas, but the protesters stayed past 2:30 a.m., forming lines across intersections and holding makeshift shields as police patrolled and closed blocks adjacent to the area. Several arrests were made, but it is not immediately clear how many.

In the Texas capital Austin, a protester was shot and killed on Saturday night after witnesses said he approached a car that crossed a march against police violence. In a video broadcast live on Facebook, a car can be heard honking before several gunshots ring out and protesters start to scream and disperse for safety. You could then see the police dealing with someone lying in the street.

Michael Capochiano, who attended the protest, told the US statesman in Austin that the killed protester had a rifle and the driver of the car fired several shots at him before rushing off. Police said the driver was arrested and was cooperating with investigators.

In the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo., A protester shot and injured someone after a car passed through a crowd walking on a freeway, police said. The injured was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Police did not disclose many details about the shooting, including whether the person who was shot was in the car. Police said on Twitter that protesters also caused “major damage” to a courthouse.

Protesters in Oakland, Calif., Torched a courthouse, damaged a police station, smashed windows, spray-painted graffiti, fired fireworks and pointed lasers at officers after a protest peaceful Saturday night turned into unrest, police said.

In Virginia’s capital, Richmond, a dump truck was set on fire as several hundred protesters and police clashed Saturday night during a rally in support of protesters in Portland. Police said it was an “illegal gathering” around 11 p.m., used what appeared to be tear gas to disperse the group.

In downtown Atlanta on Sunday, federal agents examined damage to an immigration and customs control field where windows were smashed on Saturday night. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said in an email. No arrests had been announced.

And in Baltimore, members of a group of nearly 100 protesters painted anti-police messages on a police fraternal order building and adjacent sidewalks on Saturday night, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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