HEMET – On May 31, 2020 a protest over the death of George Floyd that was planned to begin at 4:00 pm at the Hemet Valley Mall in the 2000 block of West Florida Ave started peaceful but turned violent arriving nightfall with protesters throwing rocks at police and vandalizing the mall and other stores in the area.

The first location hit by protesters was the mall which was vandalized with looters quickly grabbing what merchandise they could before fleeing. Several small fires were lit around town and were rapidly controlled by Hemet Fire Department before becoming a threat to nearby structures.

Other businesses targeted included an Autozone, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Altura Credit Union, CVS Pharmacy and T-Mobile cellphone store. Not all locations were looted with protesters only causing property damage.

Hemet Police Officers were in place throughout the city to control the situation. California Highway Patrol arrived to assist along with a very heavy response by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Officers and deputies began pushing protesters eastbound on Florida Ave and had the majority of the crowd dispersed a little before midnight.

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By John Strangis

John is a reporter, photojournalist, photographer and videographer who has contributed to local and national TV news stations and publications. He has a great passion for news but specifically for working in the field as a stringer. "Being a nightcrawler isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle." - John Strangis

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