Photos: San Diego protests sparked by police killing of George Floyd

I moved to San Diego last year when I joined inewsource, so I don’t profess to have deep knowledge of the history of protests in the city. But I have covered other protests in the past decade, including Occupy and Black Lives Matters demonstrations in Oakland.

After following the protests Saturday in La Mesa and from around the country in the past week, it was clear the unrest we are experiencing in San Diego in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is unprecedented.

That’s why I decided to document the pain, anger and conflict that spilled out onto the streets of downtown San Diego on Sunday and law enforcement’s response to it. 

I began photographing during the afternoon and continued into the early evening. When I arrived outside the Hall of Justice on Broadway, officers were setting up police lines around a group that had been demonstrating since the morning. Over the next several hours, police continued to block protesters’ movements on Broadway and the surrounding streets.

Officers fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the crowd at several points, causing many to flee and then regroup in front of the police line. Around 6:30 p.m., the protesters on Broadway were told to disperse and they began walking to a vigil at the County Administration Building on San Diego Bay. 

As protesters gave speeches, played music and lit candles for black men and women killed by police, county sheriff’s deputies stood their own vigil inside the building. Shortly after 8 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department announced from a circling helicopter that an unlawful assembly had been declared and protesters were ordered to disperse or face arrest. 

Most of the crowd remained until deputies fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the crowd. The protesters then dispersed into Little Italy and other parts of downtown, with law enforcement officers following them.

Here are some of the images I captured of the protests.

A protester does back handsprings in front of a line of San Diego police officers during a protest of police violence and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

San Diego police officers block demonstrators during a protest of police violence and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters flee after San Diego police fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the street, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A protester drives a vehicle up to a San Diego police line and asks to be let through, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters flee after San Diego police fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters move away from the police line after San Diego officers fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A San Diego SWAT officer monitors protesters, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A protester chants the name of George Floyd at a downtown San Diego protest over his killing by police in Minneapolis, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters confront San Diego police over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters flee after San Diego police fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades outside of the Spreckels Theatre, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A fellow protester pours milk over a woman’s face after San Diego police fired tear gas at demonstrators, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

People at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Hotel watch protesters walk toward the San Diego County Administration Building, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters gather outside the San Diego County Administration Building for a vigil to honor George Floyd and other black men and women killed by police, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters gather outside the San Diego County Administration Building for a vigil to honor George Floyd and other black men and women killed by police, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

San Diego County sheriff’s deputies gather inside the County Administration Building as protesters gather outside for a vigil to honor George Floyd and other black men and women killed by police, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A band plays on the steps of the San Diego County Administration Building as part of a vigil to honor George Floyd and other black men and women killed by police, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Protesters light candles for George Floyd and other black men and women killed by police as part of a vigil outside the San Diego County Administration Building, May 31, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)
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About Zoë Meyers:

Zoë Meyers
Zoë Meyers is a photo and video journalist at inewsource. To contact her with tips, suggestions or corrections, please email zoemeyers [at] inewsource [dot] org.