ORLANDO, Fla. - Anger is escalating after the death of George Floyd, who died while in custody of police officers in Minneapolis. Protests are spreading across the country and many are turning violent as people riot and demand justice. Officials are now scrambling to protect cities and law enforcement.
Orlando police even had to keep a close eye on the city overnight as looters broke into stores near the Mall at Millenia.
FOX 35 reporter Matt Trezza visited the Mall at Millenia area, where several stores had physical damage like smashed-in windows. At least six stores were hit.
Authorities say damage was also caused by looters at West Oaks Mall in Ocoee in the overnight hours. As a result, the mall was closed on Sunday.
"Today, one of our primary concerns is vandalism to our local businesses," said Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon, during an afternoon briefing in which he announced officers would be enforcing a citywide curfew from 10 p.m., Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
Other protests took place in Orlando on Saturday, including in Downtown Orlando. Protesters set off fireworks and threw bottles and police responded with pepper spray. Police went on to close Orange Avenue as people marched up and down the streets, demanding justice for George Floyd.
Then, on State Road 408, protesters gathered on Saturday afternoon. They were climbing barriers and blocking the highway, with many participants carrying signs and denounced police brutality. Police said that some protesters threw rocks at bottles at officers, forcing them to use a "chemical agent" to clear them from the highway.
On Sunday, the Orlando Police Department said its officers arrested 17 people during Saturday night's demonstrations.
Investigators say eight arrests were in the Mall at Millenia area, six were in Downtown Orlando and one was from protesters gathering on State Road 408.
One of the last two arrests happened at a Boost Mobile store, where officers spotted the incident while responding to a commercial alarm in another area.
The last arrest, police say, happened while officers were already filing a report for a burglary at a Sprint store when they heard a disturbance at a nearby Orlando Jewelers store.
The Orlando Police Department is asking protesters that "if anyone is going to exercise their right, do so peacefully."
The former Minneapolis officer seen kneeling on George Floyd's neck as he struggled to breathe, Derek Chauvin, is in custody this morning. He is charged with third-degree-murder and manslaughter. His wife has also filed for divorce, as her attorneys say that she was devastated by Floyd's death.
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