A combined police force of nine federal, state, county and city law enforcement agencies arrested 79 Arkansas residents last night (Tuesday, June 2nd) who have been among a protest demonstration group in Little Rock since last Saturday. During the demonstrations the group has called for justice reform following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.
The arrests followed repeated warnings to protesters roaming Little Rock streets they were in violation of an 8 PM curfew imposed yesterday by Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott.
The unified law enforcement crackdown on protesters was authorized Tuesday afternoon in an executive order signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The order declared a state of emergency following three previous nights of demonstration protests and marches that ended with incidents of vandalism to the state capitol building and downtown businesses, fires and burglaries.
The arrests occurred about 10:30 PM after a large group of protesters were told they were in violation of the city curfew and departed the Governor’s Mansion at 1800 Center Street. As the protesters walked north from the mansion district along Broadway Street, a glass doorway at the McDonald’s Restaurant near 7th Street was shattered by an unidentified person among the group.
As the protesters approached 2nd Street and Broadway, the group was believed to be responsible for vandalism at the Pulaski County Courthouse. Law enforcement officers assigned to the unified team converged on the group near the Broadway Bridge and began making arrests.
At least two of those taken into custody had been armed with pistols and one attempted to conceal the gun before being escorted by police into the Pulaski County Detention Center.
The joint operation team was comprised of law enforcement officers from the Arkansas State Police, Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Sherwood Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, Arkansas Highway Police, Arkansas Game and Fish, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration.