LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Several hundred people gathered outside a shopping mall Saturday as part of nationwide protests in the wake of a police killing.
Gwinnett police said the management of Sugarloaf Mills closed early Saturday due to the crowds that gathered.
“Crowds of protesters swelled to several hundred and Gwinnett police responded to maintain the safety of both the protesters and citizens in the area,” Officer Ashley M. Wilson said in a statement.
Police reported a handful of arrests, though Wilson said most protesters “were peaceful and law-abiding.”
Two police cars were damaged, but no businesses were damaged.
No injuries were reported.
“We are thankful that our community could come together tonight to express their feelings and concerns in a peaceful manner,” Wilson said. “Citizens can expect an increased police presence throughout the county tonight.”
Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office records showed three Lawrenceville residents booked into the county jail Saturday night on charges of failure to disperse, between the ages of 19 and 21.
Also arrested was a 24-year-old Duluth man on charges of failure to disperse and obstruction.
In Loganville, Mayor Rey Martinez took to social media to promise extra patrol after anti-police graffiti was found on several businesses.
Atlanta experienced a second day of protests as a national outcry over the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis continued.
Police in Atlanta reported small groups of protests beginning to form in the early afternoon Saturday. By 6:45 p.m., vandalism was reported on Ted Turner Drive and Williams Street, and protesters threw rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items at officers in the area of Cone and Marietta streets.
Thirty-four people were arrested by 8 p.m., mostly in the Marietta Street corridor. That was the epicenter of the Friday night protests, where CNN Center and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame sustained heavy damage.
Police said 71 people were arrested Friday night into Saturday morning. The Atlanta Police Department sustained damage to 20 police vehicles, with two destroyed.
At least three officers were injured.
“I’m incredibly proud of our officers for showing professionalism and restraint, allowing protesters to voice their valid concerns,” Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields said.
“We were patient. But we will not allow these protests to devolve into the destruction of property or placing the safety of our officers in jeopardy. We will make additional arrests and are grateful to the assistance we are receiving from our partner agencies.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms instituted a 9 p.m. curfew Saturday, and Gov. Brian Kemp activated the Georgia National Guard.