Curfews Imposed in Lincoln and Omaha

A peaceful silent protest was held in Omaha Sunday afternoon following two nights of protests that turned violent. (Photo by Jack Williams, NET News)
May 31, 2020 - 5:51pm

City officials in Lincoln and Omaha are imposing curfews following two nights of protests that started peacefully but turned violent.


Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced a 72-hour curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. starting Sunday night.  The mayor also said the National Guard will embed with the Omaha Police Department to help keep the calm.  

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said the request for the additional help was made to Governor Pete Ricketts.

"The Omaha Police Department currently right now is working 12-hour shifts, a lot of fatigue and resource depletion has set in," Schmaderer said. "And as chief of the city, I need to make sure that we were able to provide an appropriate level of security and protection."

Some windows were boarded up in Omaha following a night of protests that turned violent. (Photo by Jack Williams, NET News)

The chief said more than 4,000 people were involved in the peaceful protests Saturday night and the violence that stretched into early Sunday morning. 

Of those arrested, several lived outside the state of Nebraska including a white male found with a Molotov cocktail near police headquarters. Schmaderer said these were “people who would not have anything to do at all” with messages of social justice that prompted the original peaceful protests.  Mayor Stothert agreed while praising the city’s record of police-community relations.

"Generally, there's a lot of support and a lot of respect for the Omaha police department," Stothert said. "That's why it leads me to believe that a lot of this violence is not coming from fellow Omahans, that a lot of this violence is being incited by others who just want to have a voice, but having a voice and violence is two different things."

Twenty-two-year-old James Scurlock was shot to death during the unrest in Omaha. He was killed outside a bar in the Old Market area.

Social media quickly filled with unconfirmed accounts of the incident. A man is being held by police in relation to the incident, but no charges have yet been filed by the Douglas County attorney.

A curfew is in place in Lincoln Sunday night following protests Saturday night that included what is estimated to be tens of millions of dollars of damage to buildings and residences. (Photo by Dennis Kellogg, NET News)

In Lincoln, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced a curfew from 8:00 p.m. Sunday night through 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. She said the National Guard will also help with enforcement in Lincoln. Gaylor Baird says she was saddened by the violence following peaceful protests at the Capitol earlier in the evening. 

"During these curfew hours, only people who must leave their home to go to work, seek medical attention or the assistance of law enforcement shall be permitted on the public streets," Gaylor Baird said.

"It is my hope that today and going forward, this violence will not be part of the valid voice of those and us outraged by the murder of Mr. Floyd," Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister added. 

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