ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Protests in Albuquerque turned violent overnight over the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd. Floyd was killed one week ago as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes. While the city of Albuquerque was sleeping, chaos erupted. Police in riot gear were tasked with keeping the peace.

The Albuquerque Police Department is urging the public to avoid the downtown area at this time especially the area between Copper and Silver and 1st Street and 8th Street. New video shows the violent protests that broke out just after midnight Monday along Central. Protesters started fires in the middle of Central and 3rd Street and even smashed out the windows of nearby businesses.

Officers on horseback arrived just after 1 a.m. Even more officers in riot gear held the line, and were blocking off nearby streets.

At one point, officers in one area threw what appeared to be canisters emitting some kinds of smoke in the direction of protesters disobeying commands to leave the area. Protesters started to move in as did the officers where the two groups clashed on the streets getting very physical as the tear gas dispersed.

UFC fighter Jon Bones Jones was nearby urging people to stay home. “We live here, we all live here and that’s just what doesn’t make sense. We live here, we’ve got to go eat at these same restaurants tomorrow, we have to take our kids for a walk and see the inappropriate gestures and words written all over the walls,” said Jones.

Several buildings downtown are now covered in graffiti, some messages against police. In just a few hours, clean up will begin and businesses will return to find their stores vandalized.

For some who’ve been struggling because of the recent health orders, this could be another hit. KRQE News 13 is waiting for Albuquerque Police to call back to determine if any arrests were made.

APD reports that they deployed their Emergency Response Teams to stop people who were vandalizing property. Police say shots were fired at police on Central in front of the KiMo Theatre. At this time, APD says there are no reports of injuries but there is property damage to several properties including broken windows, looting, and small fires.

It’s unclear which group is responsible for the downtown protests that turned violent but it is not believed to be those with the earlier Black Lives Matter demonstration near the University of New Mexico on Sunday where things were peaceful. Locals held a vigil honoring the life of George Floyd.

APD reports Monday morning that Central from 1st to 8th Street is closed to the public. Only business owners and residents will have access to the area until all businesses are secured.

Timeline: Albuquerque protests go from peaceful to riots Sunday night

Monday, June 1, 2020 (Jami Seymore/KRQE)