Timeline shows how Boston became a war zone


Photo: Lizzie Heintz

Protesters face off with police in the area of Tremont St. and Stuart St.

Peaceful protests over the police killing of George Floyd erupted into chaos late Sunday night as people set fire to a police car and looted businesses. Below is a timeline of events from The Beacon’s live coverage of the protest. Read The Beacon’s full story here.    

3:00 a.m. Monday, June 1

Boston Police report about 40 people arrested and damage to 21 police cruisers. The department tweeted that seven officers were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries and several more received medical attention on the street.

12:30 a.m. Monday, June 1

The Massachusetts State Police announced the arrest of a second protester for attempting to scale a fence surrounding the State House. The agency said it continues to assist Boston Police downtown, primarily in the areas of Boylston, Newbury, and Arlington Streets.

Boston Police are also receiving assistance from other local police departments around Northeastern Massachusetts.

12:00 a.m. Monday, June 1

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent out a series of tweets Sunday night thanking protesters for their peaceful demonstrations and condemning the violence and looting which occurred later in the night. 

“I also want to express my gratitude to all the police officers and other first responders working to protect the people of Boston from the individuals whose violent actions, looting and property destruction was criminal and cowardly – and distracted from the powerful statement made today by thousands of Massachusetts residents,” Baker wrote.

Boston Police sent out another tweet at 11:48 p.m. asking protesters to leave the area: “We say again, the time for protesting is over. The peaceful protest ended hours ago. Individuals now congregating and committing crimes in Boston need to vacate the area and leave our city.”

11:30 p.m.

At 11:03 p.m., a third Emerson Alert was issued, reading: “Crowds have dispersed around campus. Continue to shelter in place for your safety. Updates will follow.”

The Massachusetts State Police released updates announcing that they were maintaining a perimeter around the State House, and that they have deployed units to assist Boston Police in the downtown area. State police have only made one arrest when a nan attempted to scale the fence surrounding the State House. 

A Massachusetts State Police helicopter continues to fly over the city.

MBTA Transit Police tweeted at 10:39 p.m.: “Some “protesters” have tried to cause extreme harm to our officers and did cause damage to our cruisers. TPD officers have conducted themselves with professionalism and were met with violence by a few who have lost all high moral ground.”

At 11:20 p.m. ECPD Chief Robert Smith sent an email to the Emerson community informing them that crowds have dispersed from the immediate area surrounding campus. 

“The Emerson campus is secure, however, out of an abundance of caution we ask that you continue to shelter in place until tomorrow morning,” Smith wrote. “We will be sure to notify the community should anything change.”

11:00 p.m. 

At 10:37 p.m. a second Emerson Alert was sent out reading: “Multiple dangerous situations around Boston campus. Continue to shelter in place.”

All students in campus housing have been advised to stay in their residence halls as the college enacts a lockdown. Resident Assistants are going door-to-door providing information.

Also at 10:37 p.m., Boston Police tweeted: “The time for protesting is over. The peaceful protest ended hours ago. Individuals now congregating in the area of Boston Common and Downtown Crossing need to vacate the area and go home.”

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh released a statement Sunday night thanking the protesters for demonstrating peacefully earlier in the day, then condemned the violence that has since erupted in and around downtown Boston. He referred to the agitators as “people who came into our city and chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence.”

Walsh then thanked the Boston Police Department, writing, “They are working hard, as they always do, to keep our city safe and treat our residents with respect.”

Several fires are burning on Boston Common as protesters continue to clash with police. 

10:30 p.m. 

Several people were hit crossing the intersection at Boylston and Tremont Streets by a car that appeared to intentionally drive into pedestrians.

Officers on Tremont Street are being instructed to put on gas masks. The National Guard has reportedly been called in to Boston.

Emerson College sent an alert at 10:25 p.m. advising the community that tear gas is currently being deployed in the area around Emerson. The message advised community members to close their windows and shelter in place.


Protesters appear to be spray painting graffiti onto the front windows of Little Building in a video posted to Twitter by a Suffolk University student.

10 p.m. 

All green line, orange line, and red line trains are bypassing Park Street and Downtown Crossing until further notice due to the ongoing protests. All blue line, green line, and orange line trains are bypassing Government Center, Haymarket and Chinatown until further notice.

Boston Police are asking protestors along Tremont Street to vacate the area. Police are instructing protesters to go home.

Boston Police tweeted at 9:59 p.m.: “Those now protesting in the streets of Boston have surrendered the moral high ground as efforts to hurt and harm police officers continue to intensify in our city. Men and women of BPD doing their best to restore order and keep the peace.”

Emerson College President M. Lee Pelton sent an email to the community at 10 p.m. Sunday night addressing the ongoing nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Pelton detailed his own experiences with encountering racism and discrimination over the course of his life, and expressed his anger at Floyd’s death. 

“What happened to George Floyd is not new,” Pelton wrote. “It as old as 250 years of slavery and the Jim Crow laws that sought to marginalize and shut out black Americans from American society.”

9:45 p.m. 

Police are deploying mace against protesters in the areas of Stuart and Tremont Street.

9:15 p.m.

All available Boston Police units have been called to Tremont and Winter Streets, where there are reports of protesters throwing rocks and bottles. Riot police have been reported moving to the area. 

Officers have deployed tear gas canisters in the area of Park Street station. The window of a Suffolk University building was destroyed by a protester wielding a skateboard.

9:00 p.m. 

Protestors were asked to hold up their flashlights and hold a moment of silence in front of the State House for lives lost to police brutality. 

A small group of protesters began throwing bottles at police officers in Downtown Crossing. Several protesters attempted to protect the police officers and stop others from throwing projectiles. Police responded by throwing flashbang grenades into the crowd.

8:45 p.m.

Emerson College Police Chief Robert Smith issued an advisory recommending members of the community to stay away from the area around Boston Common because of the anticipated crowds. In the email, Smith estimated that crowds would reach sizes of 10,000–20,000 people. 

7:00 p.m.

Thousands have gathered at the Massachusetts State House to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, along with other instances of race-based injustice in law enforcement.

A large contingency of the protesters marched from Nubian Square in Roxbury along Washington Street through the South End and into Chinatown, before crossing in the area of Boston Common. Others migrated from a previous protest earlier in the afternoon at Boston’s City Hall Plaza.