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Phoenix Police Chief Williams: Curfew helped ID protesters from rioters

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Monday Gov. Doug Ducey’s weeklong statewide curfew has helped give her force clarity on who has protested peacefully about the death of George Floyd and who has showed up to cause trouble.

Protests, which have turned violent in later hours, have dominated downtown Phoenix for the past four nights.

Sunday evening’s was the first one since the curfew order went into effect.

Phoenix police said they arrested more than 200 adults and over 10 minors on Sunday.

“The governor’s order gave us the tools that we needed to mitigate those scenarios and circumstances and just draw a clear line between those individuals who may be frustrated or may be beside themselves at the death of George Floyd…and those individuals who wanted to commit criminal acts and wanting to throw bottles at officers and damaging property,” Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

Ducey’s order called for the curfew to take effect at 8 p.m. each night beginning Sunday and to be lifted at 5 a.m. each morning in an effort to prevent lawlessness, the governor said.

Curfews have been enacted in several other U.S. cities where protests have turned violent over the May 25 death of Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Violent protests in Phoenix have targeted police and destruction of property, including at police headquarters.

Williams said she has spoken with organizers of the initial protests, who have assured her they weren’t connected with the violence.

“It gave us a clear view of those individuals who were never coming to just exercise their voice but to commit criminal acts,” Williams said.

Williams said her department and other state law enforcement were briefed about the order, which is set to last until June 8.

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