One arrest reported as Dover assesses nighttime damage

DOVER – City officials continued to assess the damage following several hours of protest in Dover Sunday that were peaceful throughout the day and escalated into violence by the end of the night.

According to Dover Police, one arrest was made after a rock was allegedly thrown at an officer’s vehicle and multiple businesses in the Dover Mall area around U.S. 13 were damaged. Protesters remained in the area until nearly midnight, spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said. The city declared a state of emergency and enacted a curfew running from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.

Police said that a Cricket Wireless store was heavily looted and officers responded to several broken glass alarms at businesses that were also vandalized.

An injury-related call for assistance at the time was not believed to be connected to the protest, police said.

“We had an injured female that called 911 for help at the Capital Inn on North DuPont Highway that we believe was unrelated to the protests,” according to a Dover Police Facebook post.

Police help a woman injured at the Capital Inn motel during an incident that was unrelated to the nighttime protests in Dover. Photo by Gary Emeigh

“Our special operations teams did extract the victim through a crowd of protestors to get her medical attention for her injuries without incident. Our teams remain on scene to ensure the safety of the crowd and others in the area.”

Just before 10:30 a.m. today, Dover Police released a message on Facebook that read:

“Good Morning, Dover. We want to thank you for all the messages of support while we worked with the large crowds that gathered throughout the city yesterday and throughout the evening. All of our officers are safe.

“While we did have some incidents of property damage and looting last night, it represented a small percentage of the crowds that gathered to exercise their First Amendment right to protest the tragic death of George Floyd and the larger issue of social justice & racial inequality.

“It is important to know that there are a lot of false rumors on social media regarding the events that took place last night. While we understand the significant interest in what was happening, we know that these rumors cause unnecessary panic and heightens emotions throughout our community.

“Moving forward, we are committed to working with gatherers who wish to exercise their First Amendment Rights in a lawful manner and holding important conversations with community leaders and our citizens about important issues involving the criminal justice system.

Protesters blocked lanes on US 13 in front of Delaware State Police Headquarters and the Capital Inn of Dover before police slowly backed them toward the motel parking lot Sunday night in Dover. Photo by Gary Emeigh

“We also would like to thank our law enforcement partners who came to assist us last night: Delaware State Police, Delaware State University Police, Dewey Beach Police, Milford Police Department, South Bethany Police Department, and Smyrna Police Department.

“Be safe, stay well, and spread a little kindness today and every day.”