The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta was vandalized and looted on Friday evening amidst a wave of demonstrations and rioting that have taken hold across the United States following the death of George Floyd earlier this week.
The situation devolved over the course of the evening, with NBC News correspondent Blayne Alexander reporting multiple car fires and Fox News Atlanta reporting that people were breaking into the hall of fame downtown and taking off with “various items.”
Later in the evening, Alexander posted a video of the hall of fame, where broken glass and empty coat hangers line the sidewalk. The building appears to have been vandalized from the inside, and an alarm can be heard in the background.
— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) May 30, 2020
Atlanta police confirmed to Fox News that protesters had started looting and damaging local businesses, and at one point, someone fired unspecified shots toward an officer in a patrol vehicle. The news agency did not report any injuries from that specific incident.
The College Football Hall of Fame released a statement after the building was looted and expressed support for the family of George Floyd and condemned the “chaos and disorder” that had erupted, reported 11Alive.
“We support the peaceful protests that honor his memory but unfortunately, they deteriorated into chaos and disorder. We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame,” said the College Football Hall of Fame in a statement.
“As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said… We are better than this, better than this as a city, and better than this as a country. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces, to build back the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers,” said the statement.
The College Football Hall of Fame’s invocation toward the end of the statement was a reference to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ press conference on Friday evening condemning the destruction in the city.
“When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. And yesterday, when I heard there were rumors about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do, I called my son and I said ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I cannot protect you and black boys shouldn’t be out today’,” said Bottoms, as The Daily Wire previously reported. “So you not going to out concern me and out care about where we are in America.”
“So what I see happening in the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose,” said Bottoms.
“If you want change America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country. You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country,” Bottoms concluded. “We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home.”
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