Boston cleans up after night of violence, looting from police protest

BOSTON (AP/WHDH) — Downtown Boston cleaned up Monday after mostly peaceful protests over the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis evolved into violence and looting across the nation.

Crews cleared broken glass along the Downtown Crossing, a mostly pedestrian shopping, and commercial district, as well as the Common, the city’s central park, and the Back Bay, a nearby neighborhood of high-end shops and stately brick townhouses.

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“Newbury Street was victimized by organized, criminal activity. It had nothing to do with the demonstrators,” neighborhood resident William Golden told 7NEWS. “They came in fleets of five or six cars at a time. They parked up and down the street. They were organized, they had leaders, and they knew exactly what stores they wanted to go to.”

Looters on Sunday plundered stores including a Walgreens and a shoe retailer, and vandals smashed store windows and scrawled graffiti across parts of a church, a law school and other structures.

A downtown street bore the char marks from a police car that had been set ablaze as protesters and looters clashed with police. Cardboard protest signs and other trash littered the Common.

In Back Bay, a wine shop had been looted, and an H&M clothing store’s glass doors had been shattered, but an Apple store was untouched, shielded by plywood boards.

“As nightfall came, there seemed to be like a different energy in the anger behind the crowd,” another area resident told 7NEWS.

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Boston police say 40 people were arrested and seven officers injured after being pelted with bricks, rocks, and glass bottles. Twenty-one police cruisers were damaged.

Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh, who is set to speak at noon Monday, said in a statement that he supported the peaceful protests, but that was angered by those who “chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence, undermining their message.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who will speak later Monday, also criticized the violence, calling it “criminal and cowardly” and saying it “distracted from the powerful statement made today by thousands of Massachusetts residents.”

Thousands of mostly mask-wearing demonstrators marched peacefully through Boston in several protests Sunday in response to the killing of George Floyd, who died June 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck as he was handcuffed and pleaded for air.

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The largest gathering began in the historically black Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, with several thousand people making their way about 4 miles to the State House downtown near the Common.

But as the march ended around 9 p.m., protesters and police clashed. The National Guard was called about a few hours later to help quell the unrest.

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