SPOKANE, WA - Spokane Police were forced to issue an alert that was sent to cellphones across the greater Spokane area on Sunday. "A civil disturbance is occurring in the downtown Spokane area. Please avoid the downtown core area from Fifth Avenue to Mission Street and Division Street to Maple Street. Thank you, Spokane Police Department," read the alert.
Spokane's Mayor issued an immediate curfew just before 9:00 p.m. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to get control of protesters who were rioting and in the downtown area of Spokane, destroying property. Rioters sprayed graffiti, broke windows, and looted select businesses.
Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a statewide activation of the Washington National Guard Sunday night. The activation allowed unarmed troops to be deployed in response to requests from local governments. The governor already authorized at least 600 troops earlier this weekend to help in Seattle and Bellevue.
The state received a request from Spokane County for National Guard assistance after the downtown disturbance began.
At around 1:00 p.m., peaceful protesters had gathered at Riverfront Park before marching to the courthouse. Officials in Spokane say a second, separate group became aggressive in the downtown area at about 6:00 p.m. after the peaceful protest had largely ended. The crowd was dispersed as the evening wore on.
All Spokane County buildings on the Spokane County Courthouse Campus are closed Monday as a precaution.