Several arrests made as protesters refused to follow Lincoln curfew
A curfew in Lincoln went into effect Sunday at 8 p.m. but a crowd of protesters refused to leave the area surrounding the Nebraska State Capitol resulting in several arrests. Lincoln Police said it's a misdemeanor if people don't abide by the curfew.
Even though protesters were in violation of the curfew, Sunday night's Black Lives Matter protest leader Dominique Liu-sang told 10/11 they had negotiated with law enforcement to allow the protests to continue for awhile as long as they stayed peaceful.
Around 8:12 p.m., Lincoln Police even lifted their face shields to symbolize they wouldn't push forward if the protesters did not push forward.
However, around 8:45 p.m. the police pushed forward, and began making arrests including organizer Liu-sang. A few protesters could be seen fighting back. Tear gas was deployed. It's not clear what caused the escalation.
We spoke with Liu-sang's about 25 minutes before her arrest.
"I'm not worried about a misdemeanor, because I know the law, the only thing they can charge me with is something they can't charge me with, peacefully protesting," Liu-sang said. "Disobeying a curfew set by the mayor isn't going to get me a charge. I've been out every night for past three nights. The first night I was out until 6 in the morning. The second night I was out here until 3 in the morning. However long it takes for us to get our message across without the violence, without the rioting, we don't want those things, those things don't represent us and they should not be getting harm because of the officers who are just trying to protect themselves."
The standoff between Lincoln Police and protesters continued until about 11 p.m. Officers deployed tear gas trying to get protesters to leave. Some protesters threw fireworks at officers.
We spoke with one of the protesters and asked her why she was out protesting after the curfew.
"I have to be black 24/7. I don't get to take off my uniform. I don't get to clock out I don't get to sign out. I am 20 years old, I turn 21 this summer and I want to exist and I want to live and I want to go on a jog and I want to live. I have an older brother who lives in Texas, he is 29 years old and my heart hurts when I think of something happening to him, when I think of him driving home and something happening to him, every part of me hurts when I think about kids growing up and having to tell them they don't get to do things other people get to do."
We spoke with Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird during our 10 p.m. newscast about the curfew and about the protests.
"Everything about this has to do with safety, it has to do with hearing the call for safety of people of color in our community and recognizing that so many of them don't feel safe every day and that's not okay and we're listening and hearing that message loud and clear and we all have a lot of work to do to make that change, and that's the change that we want. The change that we don't want is the destruction and violence that doesn't bring us together to make the positive changes we need to address these calls," the mayor said.
Only people who must leave to go to work, seek medical attention or law enforcement are allowed on public streets. The mayor also issued a State of Emergency calling on the Nebraska National Guard to assist law enforcement.
"We want you to go home and be safe, we know there are people taking advantage of the peaceful protests," the Mayor said Sunday night.