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Protests in Albany turn violent, businesses damaged

WNYT Staff
Updated: May 31, 2020 02:37 PM
Created: May 31, 2020 09:25 AM

ALBANY -- Earlier peaceful protests quickly escalated to violent protests Saturday night in the city's south end. 

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This, just days after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. There is outrage after a video surfaced showing Officer Derek Chauvin, now facing third degree murder and manslaughter charges, pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.  

Fires were set in Albany, looting occurred, and police cars were smashed Saturday night. Numerous videos show violence across the city overnight.

At the Albany County Board of Elections building on South Pearl Street, windows were broken. Police warned people to stay away from the area overnight.

A police presence was also seen outside the Department of Probation. This building also has broken windows. The windows of many businesses on South Pearl Street were smashed.

There was also looting throughout these protests at businesses downtown off Central Avenue.

NewsChannel 13 crews captured video of people looting Park Wine and Liquor on Central Avenue. There was not a police presence there while NewsChannel 13’s crew was there.

Over at Westgate Plaza off Central Avenue, police detained several people. It appears they tried to break into a jewelry store.

NewsChannel 13 also captured a police presence at Crossgates Mall. It appeared as though authorities were there more as a precautionary measure after everything going on in the city of Albany.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan signed an emergency order Saturday night. The order put a curfew in place until 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

The order said no one should be in a public place, other than emergency personnel and those commuting to essential functions -- but the curfew didn't really matter, as protestors continued to smash windows and set fires.       

Many have said what happened in the city of Albany Saturday night -- is something they have never seen before.

Overnight, small fires were set and there were fireworks going off as well.      

To control the chaotic scene police in riot gear were setting off tear gas. That also happened at the South Street Albany Police Station where police had to use tear gas along with police on horseback to control the crowds.

Video shows smashed windows at businesses along South Pearl Street – the M&T Bank and Berkshire Bank were hit.        

City crews were seen cleaning up the mess left behind, and they're going to have much more cleaning to do Sunday.  

It wasn’t just in downtown Albany where people were smashing windows. People also smashed the door to the entrance at Colonie Center. Police have not officially said what looting went on there, but there is a video on Facebook of people running through the mall.

There was a lot of looting going on at businesses on Central Avenue -- many of them waking up to a mess at their store and items taken.    

The community group A Block at a Time did post on Facebook -- there will be a community clean up at 10 a.m. Sunday on Arch and Trinity streets. They say these actions victimized residents who live there.     

NewsChannel 13 did reach out to Albany police to find out if or how many arrests were made Saturday night, or if any officers were hurt in the chaos. NewsChannel 13 has yet to hear back, but we will keep you updated on that, along with if the mayor plans to put a curfew in place Sunday to prevent another night of these violent protests.


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