Police Use Tear Gas To Disperse After-Curfew Protesters Near Capitol

May 31, 2020 - 11:34pm

Hundreds of Lincolnites defied a curfew Sunday night to continue protests, as Lincoln Police sought to disperse the crowd with tear gas. 

Around 10 p.m., two hours after the curfew announced by Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, hundreds of demonstrators were still on Lincoln Mall – the street leading from Lincoln City Hall to the Nebraska Capitol.

Among those who came downtown was Steven Lawhead, who said he had been planning to cook dinner for his mother. 

"As soon as she called me and said that she was scared to come to my house for dinner because the mayor instituted an 8 p.m. curfew, and my mom cancelled my dinner plans, I said you know what? I don’t have dinner plans any more so I’m going to get outside because an 8 o’clock curfew is unconstitutional," Lawhead said. "All these cops, all these police officers here swear oaths to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States of America."

Court decisions on the constitutionality of curfews have been mixed. 

Standing outside her apartment just up the street from where the police were advancing toward protestors, Amanda Pore said she didn’t know what to think. 

"It’s crazy you know they have a curfew in order right now. And I don’t know that I've ever seen anything happen like that before," Pore said. "Obviously people aren’t respecting it. I think that we should respect the law but I also know that they don’t seem to always respect us as citizens. So I don’t know what the answer is."

Back on H Street, Alieyya Jones explained why she was there: "We are out here because black people are people are getting killed every single day. They’re going to jail for things they do not do. They are being wrongfully accused on a daily basis. This is modern day slavery is what the government is trying to do. Mass incarceration of black men and black women is a problem in the United States."

And A’Iyana Jones expressed frustration: "To me, it's just an endless cycle. Our parents were doing the exact same thing we are doing today. Why is this thing continuing?"

That’s among questions people will be grappling with in the days ahead.

Watch: Police advance on protesters on H street a few blocks west of the Capitol building

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