Update 11:46 p.m.
GREENSBORO — What started out as peaceful protests turned into a riot late Saturday as people threw rocks into downtown store fronts.
Dudley Beauty, Vivid Interiors and Green City Goods on South Elm Street were among shops with shattered windows. Some people broke into shops and carried out items.
Some people have been stomping on civilian cars.
Police responded earlier in the evening to the area with riot gear after protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police cars. Police have deployed pepper spray.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Update 10:42 p.m.
GREENSBORO — Protesters have begun throwing items at police cars downtown.
Riot police with shields are now on scene and have deployed pepper spray.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
Update 9:23 p.m.
GREENSBORO — They chanted "no justice, no peace" and "I can't breathe." They waved "Black Lives Matter" signs.
Their numbers swelled as the protesters marched, venturing through downtown where they blocked intersections and onto Gate City Boulevard. Hundreds made their way onto Interstate 40/85 Saturday evening, forcing police to shut down a section of the road.
Two separate groups protested in the city Saturday though both shared a similar goal — showing their concern and frustration over the latest death of a black man while in police custody. George Floyd died Monday in Minneapolis after one police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for several minutes while Floyd called out, "I can't breathe."
His death sparked protests in Minneapolis, and several other cities around the country, including Charlotte on Friday night and Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh and Fayetteville on Saturday. While Greensboro's protests were mostly peaceful, a window was shattered at the Civil Rights Center and Museum sometime during the day. In areas where protests were more violent, Charlotte declared an emergency Saturday after a second day of protests and a building was set on fire in Fayetteville.
One of Greensboro's protests started out as a call on social media to respond to Floyd's death.
Greensboro resident Anthony Morgan (Information has been changed to correct an error. See correction below. 8:38 p.m. Sunday, May 31), 27, posted about having a protest here to his 23,000 followers on Instagram, not knowing what kind of response he'd get.
The viral video of Floyd being pinned to the ground by the knee of a white Minneapolis officer spurred him to action, he said. He said he was disgusted.
"This can’t keep going on," Morgan said about 3 p.m. on Saturday with a crowd of protesters around him in downtown Greensboro.
The group began their march in front of the Civil Rights Center and Museum at noon, Morgan said. By 3 p.m., the protesters made their way to the intersection of Gate City Boulevard and Eugene Street, forcing police to continually redirect traffic.
Morgan said he didn't warn the city or police of the protest beforehand.
"We tried to surprise people," he said. "I didn't want the police to try to stop me."
Around 7 p.m., the group walked onto I-40, forcing traffic on the interstate to stop. Police said about 8 p.m. that the road was shut down in both directions between Patterson Street and Randleman Road until further notice due to heavy traffic and protests in the area.
Police also advised late Saturday that multiple downtown streets would also be affected due to protesting.
Officers worked to block off streets and mostly kept their distance from the protesters, although one officer handed out bottled water to one group.
Lt. Dan Knott said the officers came out early Saturday when they heard of a possible protest.
"We're just making sure that everyone can safely tell their story," Knott said. "The crowd thus far has been cooperative of anything we've asked. They're working with us."
The number of protesters in Morgan's group grew as the day progressed. By mid-afternoon, around 200 people had gathered. A second group materialized in downtown about 5 p.m. and grew to around 150 protesters by 7 p.m. Many in the second group said that they heard about the protest on social media, but weren't sure who initially organized it.
In both groups, protesters carried signs with messages like "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe."
In the viral video from Minneapolis, Floyd is heard saying that he can't breathe as Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer who has since been charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder, holds his knee to Floyd's neck.
Maria Cortez, one of protesters, said she felt chills when she saw the video.
"I just thought, 'gosh, again?'" Cortez said. "As a Latina who’s brown, who also has to work through the system that wasn’t built for me, I completely understand the struggle. I completely understand the mission."
Cortez joined in with the protesters as they chanted "no justice, no peace."
Gabriel Dorsett, a 21-year-old UNCG student, called Floyd's death "the most heartbreaking thing in the entire world."
"I’m tired of black friends and my black community members being killed by racist police," he said.
While Greensboro's protests were mostly peaceful, 25-year-old Kevin Mangel from Chapel Hill said he understands why some protests devolve into looting and fires being set.
"I think they’re doing what they’ve got to do," he said. "They’re doing what Americans have always done. You’ve got to make noise."
Mangel came to the protest by himself Saturday. He said he felt like he had to after seeing the video of Floyd's death.
"It had felt like we were getting somewhere at one point," Mangel said. Then he saw the video. "This felt like a setback.
"I feel tired. I don't want to say hopeless, but I'm tired."
Update 8:14 p.m.
GREENSBORO — Police have closed part of Interstate 40 in both directions due to protests in the area and backed up traffic.
The road is shutdown between Patterson Street and Randleman Road until further notice, police said in a news release. Police are advising drivers to find an alternate route or be careful if driving in that area.
Protesters have been marching in Greensboro for several hours. One group that started downtown earlier today later marched down Gate City Boulevard and down a ramp to the interstate.
N.C. Department of Transportation was reporting on its website that the road closed around 7:40 p.m. and could be closed until about 10:40 p.m.
GREENSBORO — Protesters gathered Saturday afternoon on South Greene Street downtown, making Greensboro the latest city to see people demonstrating over the in-custody death of a black Minneapolis man earlier this week.
George Floyd was handcuffed Monday and on his stomach as a white police officer held Floyd in place with a knee to the back of his neck as Floyd called out, "I can't breathe." Floyd, who had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill, later died.
The officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd's death, caught on video that went viral, sparked protests in Minneapolis and across the country this week. Protests in several places have turned violent, including one Friday night in Charlotte, the Associated Press reported.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.
Correction: Anthony Morgan's last name was incorrect when this story first published about 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.