Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry resisted lockdown orders during the coronavirus scare, but this weekend’s civil insurrection forced his hand.
At 8 p.m. Sunday night, Curry tweeted, a curfew would be imposed until 6 a.m. Monday.
“Due to criminal activity that threatens first responders, other people, and private property Sheriff Williams and I have decided to implement a citywide curfew. Effective 8 p.m. today until 6 a.m. tomorrow I am putting a curfew in place for the City of Jacksonville.”
The curfew order comes after a second straight day of protests in downtown, with a heavy police presence laboring in vain to keep the passions of protesters and rioters in check.
Curry on Saturday evening did not commit to a curfew but did say he was “not going to let [rioters] burn the city to the ground.”
The curfew call came as a Black Lives Matter group was headed to Springfield’s Klutho Park to protest, shortly after the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deemed the park closed.
“As of 5:30 p.m. today, Sunday, May 31, 2020, Henry J. Klutho Park (204 West 3rd Street) is closed to the public. Citizens are asked to stay out of the area as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office works to maintain safety in the downtown area,” the JSO tweeted.
Downtown has largely been quelled, according to television reports, even as the curfew drops.
But Florida Politics was on the scene Saturday evening, as the scene turned ugly after the official protest wrapped.
The event, with thousands of people downtown at its peak, saw some crowd attrition as the afternoon grew late. But the folks who stuck around clashed with police, with a number of officers seriously attacked and one stabbed in the neck.
In turn, the police officers used tear gas.
But by Sunday evening, the crowd had been (as described by Anne Schindler of First Coast News) “squelched.”