In photos: Downtown buildings, businesses damaged after night of protests

Vance Monument
TROUBLED HISTORY: The Vance Monument in Asheville’s Pack Square was on June 2, as it has often been in the recent past, both a gathering place for protests against police violence toward black citizens and a target for graffiti and vandalism. The site is associated with the auction of human beings as slaves prior to the Civil War. Photo by Molly Horak

During a virtual press conference on the afternoon of June 1, Asheville Police Chief David Zack said his agency had heard the community’s voice in response to the police killing of George Floyd of Minnesota on May 25: “The message is clearly accountability and police reform.”

“We know what our community wants,” Zack continued. “They want accountability. They want transparency. They want professionalism. They want community policing. They want to feel safe in their homes and their neighborhoods, but they don’t want to be intimidated in those same homes and neighborhoods. So we are always trying to strike that balance of protection and service.”

But as a peaceful demonstration of thousands in downtown Asheville turned violent around 10:30 p.m. that same day, the messages sent by both the community and law enforcement grew more muddled and confusing. As reported by the Citizen Times and WLOS, and shown on live video broadcast on Facebook by multiple attendees throughout the night, law enforcement officers surrounding the city Municipal Building responded with tear gas after some in the crowd threw fireworks at officers.

Away from Pack Square, some attendees smashed windows and spray-painted graffiti on downtown buildings and the Vance Monument.

As cleanup continued Tuesday on Pack Square, on Biltmore Avenue and along South Market, Haywood and College streets, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer declared a citywide state of emergency. She also announced a curfew to begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, through 6 a.m. the following morning. The curfew will remain in place, Manheimer wrote, “until I declare it no longer necessary.”

According to online records, 12 individuals were arrested in the area of the protests on charges ranging from failure to disperse on command, trespassing and assault.

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About Molly Horak
Molly is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writer for Mountain Xpress. Her work has appeared in the Citizen-Times, News and Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow me @molly_horak

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2 thoughts on “In photos: Downtown buildings, businesses damaged after night of protests

  1. Jason Williams

    Do Union, Horse and Hero, and/or Hazel Twenty have donation funds to help cover the cost of repairs? I hate that local businesses got smashed.

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  2. John Penley

    I would like to see a list of everything McKibbon has done for the community in Asheville especially the poor and African American one. How many non whites work for him ? I have repeatedly said that many of those who make big bucks in downtown Asheville discriminate in hiring at hotels, bars and restaurants. I believe that if you saw more non whites working in the high end tourist business , especially downtown and in West Asheville, this would not have happened.

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