Walnut Creek police explain use of curfews, tear gas after protests turned violent

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Walnut Creek police explain use of curfews, tear gas after protests turned violent
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After a Walnut Creek protest turned violent, the city's police department explained the need for curfews and why they used tear gas.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Walnut Creek police say they were inspired and dismayed by Monday's protest march through the downtown corridor with 3000 people. Lt. Tracie Reese said some officers took a knee after conversations with some of the protesters and called the experience "invigorating."

But - Lt. Reese said they were "disappointed" in how it all ended as they felt compelled to fire tear gas in two locations.

RELATED: Oakland protests: Police explain criteria for using tear gas, enforcing curfews

In a newly released clip of body cam video posted on the Walnut Creek Police Department Department website, you can hear an officer repeatedly yelling "move away or you'll be gassed."

That occurred as about 1,000 people rushed onto Interstate 680, stopping traffic and prompting many motorists to call 911, saying they were surrounded by protesters and saw vehicles vandalized.

Police say they were blocked by protesters when they tried to assist CHP. They deployed tear gas.

RELATED: Bay Area cities implement curfew after George Floyd protests turn violent with looting, vandalism

Police say at least one protester was hit with something and injured and another was bitten by a K9 and arrested after throwing a projectile. One officer was also injured.

Once the 6 p.m. curfew went into effect Walnut Creek police say they told people to disperse from Civic Park. When a group of protesters remained, they again warned them that they were subject to arrest.

Police say once vandalism broke out and a protester threw a rock at them, they again deployed teargas. One officer was injured.

Lots of videos of the protest are circulating on social media. Police say "each one does not show the entire context of the day."

RELATED: SJPD chief fires back at critics, says officers 'endured an onslaught of violence'

Lt. Reese says they expect to release 911 recordings and radio traffic recordings by Friday afternoon.

They believe the curfew has helped keep things calm in Walnut Creek the rest of the week. They are poring over hundreds of video clips recorded on cell phones and on body cams worn by police officers, including those from neighboring agencies.

They are hearing of plans for several small protests in the days ahead. Police say they are still gearing to enforce the curfew through Monday, June 8.

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