Riverside County sheriff’s deputies Saturday issued a dispersal order to demonstrators gathered at Temecula Duck Pond to protest the recent police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The protest attracted hundreds of people and prompted authorities to close the northbound Interstate 15 Rancho California Road off-ramp, as well as Rancho California Road east of the freeway.
People began gathering at the park about 10 a.m. and the event remained peaceful throughout, with social media posts of the protest showing demonstrators holding signs and chanting “Black lives matter” as passing vehicles honked in support.
A Facebook page for the protesters said they would be “promoting awareness about police brutality and racism in the justice system as well as handing out resources people can use to urge the DA to get the officers responsible for George Floyd’s murder charged with their crimes.”
Participants were also urged to wear masks to safeguard against COVID-19.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, one person was struck by a vehicle and suffered minor injuries; the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with authorities.
Sheriff’s officials said the driver lost control of the vehicle, and they did not believe the crash was intentional, but are investigating.
Deputies, some wearing gas masks, lined up and ordered protesters to disperse at about 4:30 p.m., according to posts on social media. However, demonstrators remained in and around the park.
Floyd’s death on Monday was caught in a viral video showing 44-year-old Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin pressing a knee on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for air during an arrest. As onlookers begged for the officer to back down, Chauvin continued pinning Floyd for more than eight minutes, even as he became unresponsive, the video shows.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested. He has been charged with murder and manslaughter.
Protests against police brutality have sprung up across the country in response to the killing. In Los Angeles, more than 500 people were arrested in connection with looting and vandalism during protests overnight. Those protests continued Saturday afternoon.
A demonstration was also held Saturday at the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside.
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