Protesters in Madison damage, set fire to police vehicle

MADISON -- Protesters on State Street in Madison damaged and set fire to a Madison Police Department car Saturday night amid ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Earlier in the day, Madison police officers in riot gear confronted protesters on State Street as some smashed business windows and looted stores. Others threw rocks and chairs at officers.

Statement from Madison police on Saturday afternoon's protests:

Earlier today, a large group gathered on the State Capital grounds to advocate for justice for George Floyd. The group marched down East Washington Avenue, to Williamson Street, before returning to the Capital grounds. Officers blocked traffic and ensured that the group could express themselves safely.

At about 4:30pm, the demonstration ended and the crowd began dispersing. A group of around 150 remained in the area, and began damaging property. The group damaged vehicles and broke windows as they moved to the State Street area. There, the group began breaking business windows and attempting entry to a jewelry store. MPD officers responded and ordered the group to disperse. Chemical agents were utilized as officers moved the crowd from the area. The group has continued to engage in property damage and looting along State Street. Numerous projectiles – including rocks and chairs – have been thrown at officers.

MPD remains committed to protecting community members’ First Amendment rights. However, violence and property damage will not be tolerated.

Officers remain engaged in efforts to maintain public safety and members of the public are encouraged to avoid the downtown area tonight.