George Floyd death: 38 people arrested, several officers injured in violent San Jose protests

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Sunday, May 31, 2020
VIDEO: Highlights from George Floyd protest in SJ
Highway 101 shut down, tear gas and kneeling like Colin Kaepernick. Here's a look at demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd in San Jose.

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- The San Jose Police Department announced 38 people were arrested during Friday night's violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to SJPD, one officer was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and several others received minor injuries due to rocks and bottles being thrown at them.

Authorities say they also responded to an officer-involved shooting Friday night involving a Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputy, however, it's unknown at this time if it is connected to the protests.

Officers are also investigating a felony hit and run where two people where struck by a vehicle.

Friday night's protest began as a peaceful demonstration as the large crowd marched down Santa Clara Street towards Highway 101. The group gained access to the freeway and shut down the southbound lanes of traffic. As the protesters walked through cars, one of them took an object and smashed the back window of a vehicle.

VIDEO: George Floyd protester smash window of car on Highway 101

As cars attempted to pass the group, some protesters and drivers got into an altercation. In one situation, a protester smashed the back window of a blue Mustang.

Not long after the demonstrators walked off the highway, they were met by San Jose police officers. They continued back down Santa Clara Street to where the protest originally started earlier that day.

However, that's when tensions between protesters and SJPD escalated. In one incident, a demonstrator can be seen getting very close to officers when all of sudden punches are thrown and the protesters is taken into custody.

Police officers announced the group needed to disperse. When that didn't happen officers began to shoot tear gas, rubber pullets and flash-bangs into the crowd which sent protesters running.

San Jose Police Chief Eddy Garcia took to Twitter Friday night to address the protests saying "we will not tolerate lawlessness."

As the night went on officers continued to shoot flash-bangs and rubber bullets into the crowd which only seemed to agitate the protesters.

The group continued to move through downtown ultimately ending up near 6th and Santa Clara Street..

Around 9 p.m. the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says one of its deputies was involved in a shooting near that location, however, it's unclear if it's related to the protests. The sheriff's office says SJPD is investigating the incident.

In an interview with ABC7, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called the video of Floyd's death was "horrific" and sent a message to those protesting.

"Anger and peaceful protests will always be appropriate responses to injustice, but violence will never be and we're going to ensure that it's not violent," said Mayor Liccardo.

VIDEO: San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says George Floyd footage was 'horrific,' condones protests

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says protests are an appropriate response to the "injustice" of George Floyd, and that he couldn't even watch full, "horrific" video.

In an effort to help SJPD with this protest, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said it was sending extra resources.

"We do want people to exercise their First Amendment rights, but to do so peacefully," said Sgt. Mike Lowe during an interview with ABC7.

Liccardo confirmed to ABC7 that one police officer was hurt during the protest.

The extent of the officer's injuries is unknown.

RELATED: SJ police escalate response with flashbang grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets

He said fireworks and objects have been thrown toward officers during the protest.

The mayor said officers won't tolerate violence, nor should they.

"My job is to let the professionals do their job," Liccardo said.

Police understand what their job is - to do everything possible and make sure no one gets hurt, he said.

In an interview with ABC7, Mayor Sam Liccardo discusses police response to the George Floyd protests.

"I have a lot of confidence in them," Liccardo continued.

The mayor recognized the sadness many are feeling over Floyd's death.

"My heart is with those who express sadness for the death of George Floyd and their outrage for the injustice," Liccardo told ABC7.

Although there were moments of violence, there were also moments of solidarity,

VIDEO: Protesters take a knee in front of San Jose police

George Floyd protestors take a knee in front of police after demonstration escalates near downtown San Jose.

Video of Floyd's death showing an officer kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes while he was handcuffed and face down on the ground has sparked nationwide protests.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: George Floyd dies after video shows officer kneeling on neck

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: The video that was shared online shows the man pleading that he couldn't breathe while bystanders demand the cop move his knee.