It looks to be the setting for another volatile night in the Des Moines area. Following two nights of destructive protesting of the Minneapolis murder of George Floyd in Downtown Des Moines, officials have issued a mandatory 9pm curfew this evening for all of Polk County. The curfew went in effect at 9pm and goes until 5am tomorrow Monday morning. The only exceptions to the curfew are for family emergencies, medical emergencies, going to a religious service, or the need to get to work.
Earlier tonight, WHO 13 reports that there was some tension between protesters and police at Merle Hay Mall. Police dispersed protesters with tear gas canisters. As of 9:30pm, protesters are reported to be more calm despite the fact they are defying the mandatory Polk County curfew.
This follows a peaceful vigil for George Floyd that took place at Union Park at 6pm tonight. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie spoke as did West Des Moines councilmember at Large Renee Hardman, Representative Ako Abdul Samad, and NAACP of Des Moines President Kameron Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks lead the crowd in a 9 minute moment of silence as the 2,000 deep crowd took a knee. Nine minutes was the amount of time a Minneapolis Police Officer pinned George Floyd down on the street with his knee until he could no longer breathe and died.
Outside the Des Moines Police Station, protesters dispersed peacefully at 9pm. The officers guarding the protesters took a knee with protesters in a very emotional moment before protesters dispersed.
Representative Abdul-Samad advises parents to know where their children are. He says, "there are agitators at these protests" and those agitators could engage your children in criminal behavior.