Madison protests turn violent, 75 State Street businesses damaged, looted


MADISON, Wis. — Madison became the latest city to see violence spread through its downtown, as people met Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Around 75 buildings on State Street were damaged or looted Saturday night, as well as other businesses on both sides of the city, according to the Madison Police Department.

The violence started as an earlier downtown protest ended. Thousands gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol around noon to advocate for justice for Floyd. These protesters remained peaceful and marched to the Dane County Jail and the former home of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black teen shot and killed by an officer with the Madison Police Department five years ago.

Police said as this crowd began dispersing, a group of 150 people remained in the State Street area and began damaging property.


Members of this group smashed windows of many businesses, including Goodman’s Jewelers and Urban Outfitters. Businesses on both the east and west sides of Madison were also looted, including both East and West Towne Malls.

Putting Out Fire Close Up

One MPD squad car was broken into, driven a short distance, then set on fire, police said. Two rifles were also stolen from the vehicle before it was destroyed.

Several other squad cars were also damaged during the protests.

One Madison police officer was injured during the violent protests and other responding officers had rocks, chairs and other objects thrown at them. Police said many were struck by these objects but avoid serious injury due to protective equipment.


Madison police formed a line to push the group back and used tear gas to try and disburse crowds. Our crews on scene said crowds continued to grow  Saturday night despite police efforts.

Madison police arrested three people Saturday night, but will use video taken Saturday identify future suspects.


Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has declared a state of emergency and curfew for the city which went into effect early Sunday morning.

The curfew began at 12:01 a.m. and lasts until 5 a.m. Sunday. Another curfew will begin again at 9:30 p.m. Sunday and last until 5 a.m. Monday.

Video of Floyd’s time in custody has angered people across the country. Violent protests also took place in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Philadelphia this weekend.

The video shows a former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”

Chauvin has been arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Three other officers with the Minneapolis Police Department were fired. They have not been charged as of Sunday morning.