Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander declared a state of emergency in the downtown district today, Tuesday, June 2, ahead of another night of possible protests.
Protests over the previous weekend had remained relatively peaceful as Salisbury Police allowed protestors to express themselves freely on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31. The most recent protest on Monday, June 1, however, brought escalating tensions, some property damage, bottles and rocks thrown at police, and the deployment of tear gas to control a crowd who cornered an individual thought to be Jeffrey Long. Long was arrested on Sunday, May 31, after firing two rounds into the air from his 9mm semiautomatic handgun near the protestors. The person at Monday night’s event was not Long.
Due to escalating behavior by individuals related to the protests, Mayor Alexander made the declaration, effective immediately, which imposes a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the Downtown Municipal Service District. The state of emergency will be in place until further notice.
“We always respect the right for groups to peacefully protest in our city,” said Mayor Alexander, “and we must provide that opportunity to all residents, even if you don’t appreciate the message. Over the past few nights, our police department has done an excellent job allowing freedom of speech and expression, but the incidents on Sunday and Monday by the counter-protestor and protestors were truly disappointing. We cannot tolerate unlawful behavior in our city by outsiders or our residents. In an effort to ensure the public safety, I am declaring a state of emergency.”