ATLANTA (AP) — A police car has been set on fire in Atlanta, where protesters were using barricades to break the windows of cruisers while others were jumping on the vehicles and shattering windshields as they demonstrated against the death of George Floyd.
Hundreds of protesters were confronting police outside CNN’s downtown headquarters late Friday. Activists spray-painted a large CNN logo outside the building, breaking a window and tagging doors. One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a “Black Lives Matter” flag to cheers from the crowd.
Protesters pelted officers who came over with bottles, striking some of them. Other bottles thrown at authorities exploded behind the police line, but no officers appeared to get hit. Protesters chanted, “Quit your jobs.”
The officers backed their line away from the group of protesters who were throwing objects at them.
Police ordered demonstrators to leave the street and threatened to arrest them if they did not leave quickly.
Protesters used accelerant to burn an American flag. People were watching the scene from rooftops, some laughing at skirmishes that broke out and vandalism by the protesters.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms passionately addressed the protesters at a news conference: “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.”
“You are disgracing our city,” she told protesters. “You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home, go home.”
Bottoms was flanked by rappers T.I. and Killer Mike, as well as the King’s daughter, Bernice King.
Killer Mike cried as he spoke.
“We have to be better than this moment. We have to be better than burning down our own homes. Because if we lose Atlanta what have we got?” he said.
Protesters were also walking on the interstate in downtown Atlanta and appeared to be trying to block traffic.
The Georgia State Patrol has responded.
Earlier, as the protest appeared more calm, Kaity Brackett, 27, said she came out to the protest because she thinks the entire criminal justice system needs to be overhauled, starting with policing. She said the Ahmaud Arbery killing was a catalyst for her and referred to his death as a lynching. Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 by a former district attorney investigator and his son, who were not arrested until after video emerged months later.
Brackett wore a blue mask and sat with her partner and a friend. She was less concerned about the threat from the coronavirus.
“We risk our lives going to the grocery store, going to get gas,” she said. “This is more important than all of that.”