Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and several deputies took a knee with demonstrators Monday to honor the memory of George Floyd during what began as a peaceful rally against police brutality.
The event started about 4 p.m. on Mission Inn Avenue in downtown Riverside. The protest was one of many that have taken place across the country following Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis.
During Monday’s demonstration, Sheriff Bianco was handed a megaphone from the leader of the protest and addressed the crowd.
“We want you all to be here … We want your voices to be heard … We are here for your peaceful protest and we encourage it,” Bianco said.
He also said that a curfew was in place because law enforcement was told that people, mostly from out of town, were also in the area to cause trouble.
At one point, protesters and law enforcement personnel came together as someone shouted for everyone to “take a knee.”
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco was among those on a knee supporting the protesters. He was also seen on video shaking hands with, and hugging, the leader of the protest.
The demonstration remained peaceful until after the curfew arrived at 6 p.m.
Looters began damaging store fronts near University Avenue and Market Street, prompting authorities to declare an unlawful assembly.
“These are basically troublemakers,” Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Railsback told the Daily Bulletin. “Pretty much the crowd of the people who were out here to have a peaceful demonstration, the majority of them left. We’re dealing with 150 stragglers trying to cause problems. They’re not in one big group.”
Bottles were thrown and fireworks went off in the crowd as police used rubber bullets and pepper balls to push back the crowd, the newspaper reported.
By 9 p.m. the majority of the trouble had ended.
Video from the scene Tuesday morning showed lots of boarded up businesses, including a CVS on Market Street and Fourth Street.
Graffiti could also be seen on several buildings in the area.