On Sunday, May 31, 2020, more than a thousand people took part in a Black Lives Matter rally on the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and less than a week after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. It was the second rally of the weekend.
The original plan was to hold speeches in the Greenwood District and then march about half a mile to John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park. Due to the massive turnout, organizers led the march through the area until things went off script and they overtook the eastbound lanes of 2-44.
There hundreds gathered on the highway as they held up traffic. Oklahoma Highway Patrol shut down the area on both sides of the group of protesters a few hundred yards out leaving about 10-15 cars idling between them and protestors on the west end.
After about 15 minutes of waiting, a red truck pulling a horse trailer drove through hundreds of people gathered on the interstate, injuring numerous people. At least one was transported by ambulance to an area hospital. Organizers then pleaded with protesters to leave the highway.
The protest march continued through downtown to David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center, where hundreds gathered at the jail entrance and people banged on the windows and doors at the front entrance.
From there many protesters moved on to the Tulsa County Courthouse before marching south to the Riverside trail.
At around 9 p.m., more than a hundred protestors shut down 36th and Peoria, which had been the site of a peaceful rally on Saturday. As the crowd tossed items at Tulsa Police Department officers in riot gear, the officers responded by firing pepper balls and tear gas.
Many of the original protesters left the scene after numerous tear gassings, but others joined in as the march moved south to 51st and Peoria.
It was there that people shattered windows at area businesses and threw rocks, bricks, water bottles at traffic and police cars.
For hours late into the night, police went back and forth on Peoria as they dealt with people shattering business windows. Police said people broke into a bank at 36th and Peoria.
By 1 a.m., a convoy of police cars drove south on Peoria announcing people were unlawfully assembling and needed to go home. At 1:40 a.m. police announced on social media there were "no crowds of people congregating in any particular area and reports of nefarious activities have subsided."
On Monday, the local Black Lives Matter organization denounced Sunday's actions in Brookside, stating they were not part of the orchestrated protests.
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