WASHINGTON - With cities wounded by days of violent unrest, America went into a new week with neighborhoods in shambles, urban streets on lockdown and shaken confidence about when its leaders will find the answers to control the mayhem amid unrelenting raw emotion over police killings of black people.
Sunday capped a tumultuous weekend and month that saw city and state officials deploy thousands of National Guard soldiers, enact strict curfews and shut down mass transit systems. Even with those efforts, many demonstrations erupted into violence as protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, set a fire near the White House and were hit with tear gas and pepper spray in Austin and other cities. Seven Boston police officers were hospitalized.
Some cities saw thieves smash their way into stores and run off with as much as they could carry, leaving shop owners, many of them just ramping up their business again after coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, to clean up their shattered storefronts.
Locally, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Sunday and authorized assistance to localities in response to escalating violence across the Commonwealth. The governor granted a request from Mayor Levar Stoney to extend a curfew in the City of Richmond.
As of 2 a.m., Monday, Virginia Beach Police claim there are no further acts of disturbance taking place at the Oceanfront but a heavy police presence will remain in place.
On Sunday, protesters starting throwing rocks at police once the Virginia Beach officers formed a line and that's when the first tear gas/pepper ball was thrown. Police then moved in with heavy duty vehicles and moved protesters back.
The first protest in Norfolk was on Friday where protesters, later in the day, blocked off a section of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, and then another one took place on Saturday a long E. Virginia Beach Blvd. They marched down the boulevard and then back to the police operations center where that protest had started.
Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone even joined with the protesters at marching in solidarity. He called out the Minneapolis police officers - one of whom has now been charged in George Floyd's death
“A large majority have this concept that all policemen are racist and that’s just not true, and the minute you make an absolute, you’re wrong,” said Chief Boone.
All of it smashed into a nation already bludgeoned by a death toll that surged past 100,000 from the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment that soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
Arrests have topped 4,400 according to an Associated Press tally.