Birmingham Mayor Issues Citywide Curfew Due To ‘Civil Unrest’

 1566147749 
1591018287

The California Fashion Mall was damaged and burned Sunday night. It's one of more than a dozen buildings vandalized after protests turned violent in downtown Birmingham.

Miranda Fulmore, WBHM

Birmingham city residents are now under a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the new order and declared a state of emergency Monday morning in response to violence that erupted Sunday evening.

Throughout the weekend, hundreds of protestors gathered to advocate against police brutality and remember the death of George Floyd, a black man who died last week after being arrested by police in Minneapolis. Most of the protests were peaceful, with local leaders calling on activists to take action and remember the city’s history, but events turned violent Sunday night. A group defaced monuments in Linn Park and later vandalized commercial buildings downtown.

Miranda Fulmore,WBHM
Protestors shattered glass doors at the entrance to the Alabama Theater.

According to Woodfin, 14 buildings were burglarized, at least a dozen were damaged with broken windows and looting, and the fire department responded to more than 20 fires. Two local journalists were injured by protestors and 24 people were arrested.

“Birmingham, this is not us,” Woodfin said during a press conference Monday. “This is not how we taught the world how to protest. Violence, looting and chaos is not the road to reform.”

In response to calls for a stronger police presence Sunday evening, Woodfin said police were caught off guard and officers were outnumbered when demonstrators gathered at Linn Park. They did not initially intervene as protestors tore down a statue of former Confederate Navy officer Charles Linn and tried to pull down the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument that’s been at the center of a legal battle between the city and the state for years.

Miranda Fulmore,WBHM
Protestors tore down a statue and defaced several others Sunday evening in Linn Park.

Woodfin said the city will bring down the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument as soon as possible to avoid more civil unrest. In a statement, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the state will file a lawsuit if the city removes the structure, but Woodfin said it is worth the potential cost.

The nightly curfew will be in effect until further notice. Woodfin said people who have to work in Birmingham past 7 p.m. should carry proof of employment. He said the city is requesting assistance from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to enforce the curfew. At this time, there are no plans to bring in the National Guard. In a statement, Gov. Kay Ivey said one thousand guardsmen are on standby statewide to respond to violent protests.

Birmingham State of Emergen… by Miranda Fulmore on Scribd

 

Secretary of State investigating Bessemer for potential voter fraud

While rumors of election fraud or irregularities have lingered in the city for years, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed to WBHM his office is looking into allegations of voter fraud in Bessemer this election cycle.

Local health officials plan to increase monkeypox vaccinations

Health officials will soon begin offering intradermal vaccinations, reaching more people with less vaccine.

Combating gun violence remains a top focus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As violent crime in Birmingham and the surrounding area continues to increase, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Prim Escalona, uses a variety of tools and strategies to get firearms and bad guys off the street.

Some 3rd graders in local schools could be held back under new law 

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

How one Birmingham custodian preps for the first day of school

When the kids are away, the custodial and maintenance staff in schools work all summer long. One custodian told WBHM about what it takes to keep the kids happy and healthy as they trade sunshine for fluorescent lights.

Dollar store workers are organizing for a better workplace. Just don’t call it a union.

Fired up by a labor movement that’s seen big union victories recently, dollar store workers are organizing in their own way to improve work conditions.

More Front Page Coverage