Riverside City Manager Al Zelinka Monday declared a local emergency and ordered an 11-hour citywide curfew beginning at 7 p.m. in anticipation of potential protests and other disturbances similar to others racking the country.
Riverside police Chief Larry Gonzalez requested the declaration after police learned of unspecified social media traffic indicating demonstrations might be in the works.
“Although we are expecting a peaceful and safe demonstration that will allow our community members to express their First Amendment rights, we will effectively address any attempts to disrupt those engaging in peaceful protest,” Gonzalez said. “Riverside is a city of unity and inclusivity, and we know our residents and businesses do not invite the criminal behaviors we’ve witnessed elsewhere.”
The curfew takes effect at 7 p.m. and is slated to continue until 6 a.m., though it could be extended, officials said.
According to police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback, the local emergency issuance was in direct response to the uprisings and violence that have propagated nationwide since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Video taken by a bystander captured the black man pleading for his life, saying he could not breathe, while a white police officer — since charged with murder — held his knee on the unarmed man’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as three other officers looked on.
“The Riverside Police Department will not only provide the reactive services necessary to ensure public safety, but also commits to providing the proactive services that will ensure the unity within our neighborhoods,” Railsback said.
The city has exempted some entities from the curfew, among which are the following:
— residents seeking medical care within the city;
— first responders;
— people going to and from work;
— credentialed members of the media; and
— the homeless.
More information is available at www.RiversideCA.gov/Curfew.
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