UPDATE 11:15 p.m.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A store on East Sixth Street was vandalized Saturday night just blocks away from Austin Police Department headquarters.
These photos show damage to windows at the front of a store called Private Stock Premium Boutique.
APD says it is responding to reports that people are looting a local business.
“Our goal is to protect peaceful protests. We ask everyone to be aware of APD’s safety mission and to discourage illegal activity, violence and damage to property,” APD said in its tweet.
UPDATE 10 p.m.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A car was set on fire around 9:30 p.m. Saturday underneath Interstate 35 in downtown Austin near the site of protests at Austin Police Department headquarters.
Austin Fire and APD responded to the incident near Seventh Street and the I-35 frontage road.
No injuries have been reported. Police have been using non-lethal weapons in an attempt to keep the crowd from getting violent.
UPDATE 9:30 p.m.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department estimates there were a dozen arrests related to protests Saturday in downtown Austin, according to an APD tweet.
In a follow-up tweet, APD says “most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, some people have thrown rocks, bricks, eggs, water bottles and Molotov cocktails. APD has used less lethal rounds during the course of events.”
UPDATE 8 p.m.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Traffic on Interstate 35 is slowly moving in both directions in downtown Austin following protests throughout the day. Thousands of protesters marched from Austin Police Department headquarters to the Texas State Capitol after the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin while they were in police custody.
Protesters continue to gather near APD headquarters on East Eighth Street. Demonstrations began around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
UPDATE 5 p.m.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Protesters have returned to the Austin Police Department headquarters near East Eighth Street in downtown Austin.
The demonstrations have spilled onto Interstate 35 and the frontage roads in the area, halting traffic and creating a large jam through the downtown area.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley released a statement on social media Saturday afternoon saying APD appreciates “peaceful protest”, but will not tolerate violence and destruction.
“Our officers are working to keep the community safe with compassion, professionalism and respect, as the demonstration continues downtown. We appreciate peaceful protest and will continue providing a safe space for the community to express emotions. That being said, violence and destruction of property will not be tolerated,” Manley said in the post.
In an interview with KXAN, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he recognizes the importance of the demonstrations, asking for people to remain safe.
“It is a good and powerful thing to be able to demonstrate and that’s a good thing. I expect our law enforcement to continue to show restraint. Recognizing this is in a pandemic, I want people to be safe. Austin is a progressive city and is working really hard…it is important we have accountability and we show true compassion moving forward,” Adler said.
Earlier on Saturday, crowds gathered near APD headquarters, closing both sides of I-35 before moving to the Texas State Capitol.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of protesters gathered outside Austin Police Department’s headquarters on Saturday following a night of protests across the United States.
Traffic was brought to a standstill on Interstate 35 in downtown Austin for several hours after protesters made their way onto the highway. The frontage roads of I-35 between 12th and Sixth Street have reopened, but traffic is moving slowly as of 4:45 p.m. Saturday, according to Austin Mobility.
Gov. Greg Abbott has sent state resources to Austin and other Texas cities as demonstrators continue to gather in large numbers.
Several hundreds of protesters moved from APD headquarters to the Texas State Capitol on Congress Avenue.
Tensions have flared after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, sparking riots in some cities across the country.
In a video taken moments before Floyd died, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin can be seen kneeling on his neck. Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter.
The protest in Austin came just hours after another demonstration at the same location that lasted until the early hours of the morning.
It began with people holding signs and chanting outside APD’s headquarters. Protesters then climbed on to I-35, stopping traffic on both sides of the highway.
Police told KXAN that nine people were arrested during the overnight demonstration. Charges include inciting a riot, throwing objects and harassment of a public servant.
APD’s headquarters was boarded up on Saturday morning ahead of the protest.
Organizers are calling for justice following the deaths of Floyd and Michael Ramos, who was shot dead in southeast Austin by APD officer Christopher Taylor on April 24.
In a statement released Saturday through the Austin Justice Coalition, Ramos’ mother Brenda urged people not to commit violence in his name.
“I am pleading with the community, please do not commit violence in my son Mike’s name,” she said. “There will be people of all ages, including children and older folks at the March for Black Lives tomorrow.
“No one should be afraid to come and make their voice heard because of fear of violence. Please do not give the Austin Police Department any excuse to shut down tomorrow’s peaceful rally.”
The rally on Sunday involves a march from the state Capitol to Austin City Hall.
Taylor’s lawyers previously said he is the subject of a criminal investigation into the death of 42-year-old Ramos.
Officers fired shots at his car while responding to a drug-related 911 call. Ramos was unarmed at the time.
At the time of the shooting, APD Chief Brian Manley said Taylor fired as Ramos tried to drive away following a standoff with multiple police units in a South Pleasant Valley parking lot.