Following two days of protests over last week’s killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, by a police officer, officials in two West Valley cities set curfews aimed at preventing the spread of overnight looting and destruction.
While the daytime protests in the region have been overwhelmingly peaceful, looting and violence has been a feature of the last few nights in numerous cities in the Bay Area.
That prompted San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to declare a state of emergency and institute a curfew Sunday. It will last for seven days, or until further notice, depending on the need.
Exemptions apply to police, firefighters, emergency personnel, delivery services, utility workers, news media, the homeless and those seeking medical care.
The City of Santa Clara also instituted a curfew on Sunday. Both curfews run from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“We as a community need to acknowledge the horrific incident with Mr. Floyd, listen to the protesters and their message, and support peaceful expressions, however difficult,” said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor in a statement Sunday.
Large police presences were seen late Sunday afternoon on Stevens Creek Blvd. near Westfield Valley Fair and also near Santana Row. Both have a number of retailers and upscale storefronts, leading to concerns over looting.
Liccardo has worked to reach out to protestors and to the police force in the city. He knelt with protestors on Sunday.
“The outrage is justified by the horror of George Floyd’s death,” Liccardo said.
He also spoke Sunday to a hospitalized police officer who was injured in Friday’s protest.