A peaceful yet frustrated crowd of protesters in downtown San José remained on scene early Sunday evening after a city-wide curfew set for 8:30 p.m. approached.
San Jose city officials announced Sunday afternoon the curfew would remain in place until 5 a.m. Monday, saying they had heard of looting activity planned for Sunday night, and that they don’t want their city to have the same levels of violence as have others across the U.S.
Nightly curfews will continue for at least six nights beyond this, officials said at a press conference Sunday evening.
Mayor Sam Liccardo said:
“This curfew will help the San Jose Police Department get a hold of the problem.”
After the announcement, Liccardo visited the scene of the protests, and, alongside 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Alvin Harrison, took a knee.
San Jose City Manager Dave Sykes signed a “proclamation of emergency” Sunday enabling the curfew. Sykes said he expects the San Jose City Council to officially approve both on Tuesday.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia said officers aren’t going to impose martial law on the city, but that they want a tool to deal with rowdy and violent gatherings that first showed up Friday night, after a day of mostly peaceful protests. More than 100 arrests have been made in the past 48 hours, he said Sunday afternoon, and millions of dollars in damages have been made to local businesses and other property, he said.
People who don’t respect the curfew and who don’t “obey lawful orders” to disperse would be subject to arrest, Garcia said.
San Jose follows San Francisco in establishing a curfew. San Francisco officials called their curfew late Saturday night after protests turned violent; the area around Union Square sustained the most damage. San Francisco’s curfew, from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., will be in force until further notice.
When asked why San Jose didn’t declare a curfew when San Francisco did, Garcia said:
“We wanted to give the community an opportunity to vent … but we didn’t let the issue fester to the point our community suffers.”
Garcia, who decried the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police Monday that set off the wave of protest and violence, praised his police officers for their restraint in dealing with unruly crowds over the past two nights. He also acknowledged that one of his department’s officers, Jared Yuen, who has been the subject of a video on social media responding in a vulgar manner to a female protester.
Garcia of Yuen:
“I’m not happy with his actions.”
Yuen’s actions are being investigated, Garcia said, and he – and any officer deemed to have acted inappropriately – will be held accountable.