Dover points curfew after looting at Dover Mall, Biden to fulfill Wilmington leaders

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Dover police could be seen on the live video entering the Capital Inn on U.S. 13, where they announced to the crowd they are doing so to assist someone who had been stabbed. The incident was unrelated to protests that occurred in the town earlier in the day.

Delaware News Journal

A state on edge readies for another potential night of violent demonstrations, this time potentially targeting areas beyond Wilmington where protesters looted and damaged businesses in the city’s downtown area Saturday night. 

Dover issues curfew after looting at mall

Dover officials declared a state of emergency and issued a curfew Sunday that will be in effect from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily until further notice.

This occurred after protests turned violent in the state’s capital.

People gathered peacefully at Legislative Hall before moving through the city with the assistance of Dover Police, eventually to U.S.13 and the parking lot of the Dover Mall.

As the sun began to set, the looting began.

“I can confirm we did have a looting incident occur at the mall,” Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman told Delaware Online/The News Journal. “We have since secured that area and are dealing with large crowds in the area of North DuPont Highway.”

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Forever 21 could be seen being looted on several Facebook Live videos. A video of the aftermath showed a broken window and scattered merchandise.

Some protesters continued to Delaware State Police Headquarters, just north of the mall.

On their way, protesters were blocking traffic on U.S. 13 and throwing rocks at passing cars.

Also, police could be seen on the live video entering the Capital Inn on U.S. 13, where they announced to the crowd they are doing so to assist someone who had been stabbed.

Traveling in the area is not recommended at this time. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen said in a statement: “While it is with every intent we support the First Amendment right to protest, those rights end when violence and destruction imposes on the rights of their fellow citizens.”

They really looted Dover Mall what is going on 💀💀 pic.twitter.com/A85GIlEsYr

— Nia Pope (@niathaqueen) June 1, 2020

Joe Biden in Wilmington

Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s campaign announced the former vice president will meet with community leaders in Wilmington on Monday.

Afterwards, his campaign said Biden will hold a virtual roundtable with mayors. 

A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll shows the former vice president leading Trump nationwide by 6 percentage points, 44% to 38%, a shift from Trump’s 3-point lead in the survey as he was being impeached by the House in December. 

In a contest without a third-party contender, Biden’s margin jumps to 10 points, 50% to 40%.

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Joe Biden addresses the media on the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wilmington’s Hotel DuPont in March. (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, Delaware News Journal)

New Castle County readies

In New Castle County, Hockessin and Pike Creek residents have been told to expect a large police presence Sunday night in their communities as threats of protesting grow. Police have also been positioning themselves to protect businesses, including at Christiana and Concord malls and Prices Corner. 

“Over the past several days, some peaceful demonstrations in cities across the country have turned violent,” Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe said in a statement. “We are asking our citizens to do their part in helping us protect our communities by refraining from violence.”

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Workers build a barricade to cover the front entrance to Starbucks on Market Street Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Wilmington. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)

At least four people were shot Saturday night in Wilmington after peaceful protesting of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis turned violent. Wilmington Police said they did not believe the shootings were related to the violence that saw looters breaking windows and stealing from downtown businesses. 

WILMINGTON RIOT:

Wilmington assesses damage inflicted by George Floyd protests Saturday night

Wilmington protest for Floyd turns violent; police order people off the streets

Saturday’s rioting left shattered glass along sidewalks as dumpsters, trash cans and vehicles burned. 

Mayor Purzycki speaks with protesters

Sunday saw more protests in Wilmington, including near the Carvel State Office Building where demonstrators talked to Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Sen. Chris Coons, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and police officers.  

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Adeola Babatunde, 24, was one of more than a dozen people that expressed frustration before the crowd. He told Delaware Online/The News Journal that because previous protests didn’t lead to change, he understands why people turned to violence Saturday night.

“It’s a way if expressing rage… We made them uncomfortable,” said Babatunde, who protested Saturday until around 5 p.m. 

Some from the group of around 100 to 150 didn’t agree with the violent tactics, but said they aren’t in position to critique it. A number of young people spoke out, saying they’re already tired of the injustices they see every day in their community and on social media.

​”This country was built on racism,” 20-year-old Tyson Junior said. “I’m tired. I’m trying to make a change right now.”

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Wilmington Mike Purzycki speaks to a protesters Sunday evening. (Photo: JERRY HABRAKEN/DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL)

Protesters then moved in front of police officers, who stood behind orange and white barriers in front of the Louis L.Redding City County Building. Inches from the officers, the crowd made calls for the community to look after itself, upset with how systems in place have failed them.

A brief back and forth ensued between a man and a police officer, who compared the police force to a carton of eggs: there are sometimes a few bad ones among the bunch.

Meanwhile another officer in a separate conversation told a protester, “this might be the change.”

After about 30 minutes in front of the officers, the crowd began to disperse.

Al’s Sporting Goods took a lot of damage during Saturday night’s riot. (Photo: PWIL)

Wilmington Sunday evening 

While Wilmington was quiet early Sunday evening, concerns that demonstrators would repeat their acts outside the city had Delaware officials preparing. 

State police mounted patrols were seen patrolling the Wilmington Riverfront Sunday evening.

Christiana Mall, which was slated to open on Monday, will postpone its reopening until they feel it is safe, said Steve Chambliss, the mall’s general manager. 

“We want to make sure that our shoppers and workers are safe,” he said. 

No reopening date has been selected.

About 20 Delaware State Police SUVs were packed into the Prices Corner Shopping Center Sunday afternoon as a proactive measure. 

State Police issued their statement saying they understood people upset about Floyd’s killing wanted to exercise their First Amendment right and have their voices heard in peaceful assemblies. 

“Our goal is to allow our citizens to protest as safely as possible, while we protect individuals as well as public and private property,” part of the agency’s statement said. “The Delaware State Police will continue to do our part and see that these protests remain peaceful.”

Lawmaker warns Hockessin/Pike Creek

Delaware State Rep. Mike Smith (R-Newark), via a Facebook video, said there was “intelligence out there that there could be some incidents similar to what happened in Wilmington and other areas.”

A statement he later had to walk back. 

“Following up on the information shared earlier, I’ve continued to be in touch with law enforcement, and they have determined that the threat is an isolated incident and hasn’t seen any other corroborating intelligence to deem the threat active,” Smith posted on his Facebook post. “I’ll continue to update you as I get more information, but thank you to law enforcement for being so proactive.”

In a video posted earlier Sunday, Smith said Delaware State Police Troop 6 was aware of a threat and asked people and businesses to be safe. 

“Wish I had better news for you,” he said in his video. “But most importantly, if you see anything call 9-1-1. Don’t put it on [Facebook page] Hockessin Gossip Girls. Don’t put it on social media. Call 9-1-1 immediately and they will be out there.

“You will see large police visibility this evening so that is why. So if you can, just stay and home. Close your business early.”

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Reporters Shannon Marvel, Jeanne Kuang, Meredith Newman, Jerry Habraken

Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, eparra@delawareonline.com or Twitter @eparra3.

Read or Share this story: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2020/05/31/delaware-readies-more-potential-violent-protests-beyond-wilmington/5302463002/

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