Violent outbursts, city curfew follow peaceful rally in Murfreesboro

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 09:53:07-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — The day started off peaceful in Murfreesboro as folks gathered for a vigil this afternoon to honor George Floyd on the public square. But by nightfall it got rowdy.

News Channel 5's helicopter was able to catch a small group of protesters having a stand off with police near MTSU.

Police fired tear gas at the intersection of East main and middle Tennessee Boulevard to get the group to disperse.

Protesters could be seen at the Murfreesboro Police headquarters yelling and chanting as well.

Things got heated and at one point a man climbed a flag pole and tore up a rebel flag shirt. There was also a group of protesters on the public square.

Things started to take a turn after the city announced a 6:30 curfew, but a group of people didn’t want to leave.

An armored vehicle was vandalized.

We spoke with protester Anthony Smith, who said he’s taking a stand against racial injustice and police brutality.

"It hurts and it’s a real pain, like you don’t matter - they can kill you and shake it off. If I come out here and kill another black man, they sending me to jail."

Things started to get hostile on public square when protesters refused to leave by the curfew. We saw a few people end up in handcuffs.

Many of the stores on the public square already boarded up their windows in preparation of today’s protests.

Today’s demonstration comes after riots broke out in Nashville yesterday.

Protester Daloris Marshall was also at both protests. She said people of color are frustrated and want to see change.

"Not everyone out there was here to destroy all that destruction all that is built up over years. I’m tired of being afraid to walk down the street this is in every city. We trying and tried but people don’t understand we tired. We can’t march every day. You can rebuild every building but not George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin-- you can not rebuild them."

There was some property damage and violence, but for the most part it seems like people eventually obeyed the curfew.