SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A Scottsdale mall closed early Saturday evening as cities across the country braced for more unrest over George Floyd's death.
That didn't stop a crowd of protesters from breaking into several of the stores and looting them Saturday night.
Floyd died in custody in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck and kept it there for more than eight minutes.
Large crowds gathered in cities from New York to Los Angeles to protest Floyd's death.
Several of those protests became destructive on Thursday and Friday nights. At least two deaths across the U.S. were connected to the demonstrations; hundreds of people were arrested and police used batons, rubber bullets and pepper spray to push back crowds in some cities.
Eight people were arrested in downtown Phoenix Thursday night after large crowds gathered to protest Floyd's death. The demonstration started at the state capitol, but some protesters tried to enter the building and damaged property when they couldn't, according to police.
Police said protesters then moved away from the capitol and began throwing rocks and bottles at officers. They also allegedly damaged police vehicles and took police equipment from one of the vehicles.
Officers used pepper spray, bean bag rounds, and pepper balls to disperse the group.
The next night, the focus of the protests shifted to Dion Johnson, who was shot and killed by a DPS Trooper in an incident on Memorial Day
Police used flashbangs and tear gas on protesters in front of the Phoenix Police Department building. Two men were arrested on charges of refusing to disperse from an unlawful assembly, among other charges.
There has been no curfew issued in Phoenix in response to the destructive protests.
Scottsdale Fashion Square announced it closed at 5 p.m. Saturday. The mall will reopen Sunday at noon.
City leaders, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Police Chief Jeri Williams and Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, held a press conference on Saturday ahead of another night of anticipated protests. They talked about the damage incurred and urged protesters to stay peaceful.
Mayor Gallego released a statement Saturday afternoon:
"It’s hard to know what to say at a moment like this. People are hurt, upset, and angry, and they have a right to be. This pain and frustration comes from a lived experience that isn't mine but that does not diminish the role I must play in helping to change the future. Part of my job in a moment like this is to listen above all else.
The killing of George Floyd takes place against a backdrop of systemic inequities, particularly for African-Americans, that are larger than any one incident. We all have a responsibility to address this inequity. People are right to stand up and demand change.
We must have high standards for all public servants, including law enforcement. There are many officers looking at, and reflecting upon, this incident who are motivated to work even harder to build greater trust with communities where that relationship has eroded. Most residents understand the difficult tightrope officers must walk every day.
As we work to implement change and push toward racial equity, I ask residents to continue to look out for one another and recognize that hurt begets hurt."