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Newsom, Thurmond Weigh In On Surge Of Violent Protests

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Sacramento, CA — California’s governor and top education official addressed the chaotic unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

In his remarks on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he welcomed protesters expressing their rage as long as they do it peacefully. At the same time,  he denounced unnamed groups of anarchists and others who used this past weekend’s demonstrations to tag graffiti on buildings, burn banks, shatter store windows, and loot businesses.

Newsom reported that he had called up 4,500 National Guard troops to supplement overwhelmed police in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Monica in the violent aftermath of passionate demonstrations decrying Floyd’s death at the hands of white Minneapolis police officers. Around the state, curfews in the high-population base areas continue as police chiefs described organized rioting, looting, echoing a widely held notion that trouble came from outsiders, though few provided specific details.

Nearly two-thirds of properties in Sacramento’s business district were damaged over the weekend following three consecutive nights of protests. The state Senate on Monday canceled all of its scheduled meetings and ordered lawmakers and staff not to enter the state Capitol and Newsom’s administration ordered all state government offices in downtown areas to close.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he was considering asking Newsom to send the National Guard and planned to ask the City Council to approve a curfew starting at either 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. While most of the state’s cities imposed curfews on Saturday and Sunday, Sacramento did not and on Sunday night, protesters shattered windows in stores and cars while spray-painting graffiti as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at those who ignored orders to leave.

California State Schools Superintendent Tony Thurmond said Monday he plans to lead an effort focusing on racism in public schools during emotional remarks about Floyd’s murder, sharing that the incident left him struggling to answer his own children who asked him why it happened? Thurmond, who is the only elected African American official in the state, stated during a live stream that now is the time to address racism and implicit bias in education.

He added that he has reached out to state superintendents around the country, will be initiating conversations with educational leaders, parents, and students and reaching out to work with elected officials, police chiefs, and government agencies in every sector.