Curfew imposed after fatal shooting during Omaha protests

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska officials are imposing a curfew and the Nebraska national guard is being mobilized to help police after a man was killed during a demonstration in downtown Omaha over the death of George Floyd.

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The shooting occurred at around 11 p.m. Saturday in the city's Old Market area and within a couple of blocks of where protesters had gathered. Police said they arrested someone within the hour in connection with the shooting of 22-year-old protester James Scurlock. Officials didn't say what led to the shooting during the protests.

Omaha and Lincoln officials said a curfew will be imposed Sunday evening at 8 p.m. No one will be allowed to gather outside between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Gov. Pete Ricketts mobilized the national guard to help police in Omaha and Lincoln.

“This issue that has been going on for two days now of civil unrest, civil disobedience and criminal behavior is going to take some extraordinary measures for us to get through it,” Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said.

The protest in downtown Omaha followed one hours earlier in a commercial district a few miles away that, like many of the Floyd protests around the country Saturday, started peacefully but devolved into clashes between protesters and police. Some protesters threw water bottles, rocks and eggs at police officers in riot gear, who used tear gas and pepper balls to disperse the crowd.

“Sadly, what began as these peaceful protests have been hijacked by perpetrators of violence -- people who are seeking to create harm to our great cities here in Nebraska," Ricketts said.

The second protest — the one in downtown Omaha — started around 10 p.m. Saturday and continued past midnight after police broke up the earlier protest. Police said 51 arrests were made during the Omaha protests.

In Lincoln, police and protesters also clashed after a mostly peaceful event turned violent around 11 p.m. Saturday. Officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the crowd after protesters broke several windows in office buildings near the County-City Building downtown.

Several hours after the Lincoln protests broke up, firefighters were called to a blaze at an insurance company building a couple of blocks from where the protest had ended.

Around the start of the protests earlier Saturday, Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister spoke to the group that first gathered at the state Capitol and condemned the actions of police in Minneapolis that led to Floyd's death Monday.

Floyd, who was black and was handcuffed, died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, used his knee to pin down Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving. Chauvin and the other three officers who took part in the arrest of Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit bill, were fired Tuesday. Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, but the other three officers haven’t been charged.

Another protest is planned Sunday evening in Omaha two hours before the curfew is set to begin.