Mayor declares civil emergency, issues curfew in response to protest violence in Memphis

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 11:21 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mayor Jim Strickland declared a civil emergency and issued a citywide curfew, effective Monday night.

It’s in response to violence in downtown that followed peaceful protests against police brutality over the weekend

The last two nights started with peaceful protests that were followed by violence, as crowds of protesters clashed with police.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings says in the last two nights, 10 businesses and three police cars have been vandalized.

Winfield's shoes and accessories vandalized in Downtown Memphis
Winfield's shoes and accessories vandalized in Downtown Memphis(WMC)

He says three of his officers have also been shot at.

Since Wednesday, he says police have made 44 arrests.

“This is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated,” said Rallings.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has now issued a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, which takes effect on Monday night.

“We will continue this curfew as long as necessary,” said Strickland.

He says while he supports peaceful protesters and their message, he says there is a second group of protesters.

“The second group wants destruction and chaos, regardless of the cost or who they may hurt,” said Strickland.

Memphis Police aren't the only ones who've found themselves facing off with protesters.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and even the Tennessee National Guard are trying to help maintain order.

Director Rallings says the guard, who had already been in town to help with COVID-19, was put on standby after things turned violent in Nashville.

"And then as things heated up, we requested that the National Guard come to Memphis in a capacity to help protect critical infrastructure,” said Rallings.

Rallings says others can also protect the city, by discouraging those who may go out to protest to not turn violent.

"I’m asking mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters to reach out to your loved ones and talk to them,” said Rallings.

Strickland also issued a civil emergency, along with the curfew. The civil emergency expires on June 8.

The mayor says there will be exceptions to the curfew, including those who have employment, safety or health reasons for being out.

The curfew officially ends Tuesday but could be renewed.

If you violate the curfew, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in jail time up to 11 months 29 days and a $2,500 fine.

Executive Order issued by Strickland regarding the curfew:

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