Based on mounting concerns that protests and violence in neighboring jurisdictions might spill over into Riverside County, the county’s chief executive officer Monday signed an emergency order declaring that a 12-hour curfew will be in effect countywide, beginning at 6 p.m.
“We want the community to be able to peacefully assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights,” CEO George Johnson said. “We must also take action to protect our community from threats of rioting and chaos. If you plan to visit a protest … we urge you to do so peacefully and return home at the time of the curfew.”
The curfew expires at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Several small gatherings have been reported in the Riverside metropolitan area, as well as the Coachella Valley, but nothing on the scale impacting Los Angeles County and other parts of the nation. Riverside County officials are hoping to keep it that way.
The city of Riverside declared a municipal curfew starting at 7 p.m. and continuing to 6 a.m. Tuesday. Riverside police Chief Larry Gonzalez requested that City Manager Al Zelinka implement the order as a precaution, following a number of unspecified social media posts indicating there could be demonstrations.
Like the citywide curfew, the county has exemptions in place, and individuals fall into the following categories will not face arrest or penalties for being out after dark:
— residents seeking medical care;
— first responders performing duties;
— people going to and from work;
— credentialed members of the media; and
— the homeless.
The racially charged uprisings nationwide began a week ago following the asphyxiation death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died after being taken into custody by a Minneapolis police officer who has since been charged with murder based on video footage that showed the officer holding his knee on the man’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as he repeatedly called out that he could not breathe.
Riverside County sheriff’s officials have not said whether additional patrols will be implemented as a result of the curfew.