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Coralville lifts its curfew

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Protesters in front of the Coralville Police Department, June 1, 2020. Jason Smith/Little Village

The city of Coralville has lifted its overnight curfew, the city declared on Monday afternoon.

“I would like to thank Coralville residents for their patience and compliance with the curfew,” Mayor John Lundell said in a statement announcing the end of the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

The city imposed the curfew on June 1 in response to incidents the previous night, including a confrontation between the police and a crowd of approximately 150 near Coral Ridge Mall, and various acts of vandalism and theft.

Approximately two dozen police vehicles from Coralville and neighboring cities responded to reports of an unruly crowd near the Coral Ridge Mall on Sunday night. The police used two flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd. KCRG reported “a few officers were injured after protesters threw rocks or punched them.”

The last of the crowd left around 2 a.m.

Nothing was stolen from the mall, but some nearby small businesses were vandalized. And at approximately 10 p.m., Coralville police responded to reports of broken windows and intruders at the Walmart north of the mall.

Officers found people inside the store, taking items.

“We made a few arrests, but lots of people ran,” Coralville Police Chief Shane Kron said about the incident.

The Coralville Walmart was barricaded and boarded up on June 1 following a break-in the night before. — Jason Smith/Little Village

When he announced the curfew, Lundell said the city “recognize[s] and support[s] the rights of citizens to demonstrate and protest,” and that city leaders “stand with those peacefully doing so in sadness and anger over the death of George Floyd.”

He continued, “We also recognize that vandalism and violence are damaging to our community, as they are to other cities across the country. To protect our citizens, businesses, and public safety personnel, we will impose and enforce this curfew until further notice.”

The imposition of the curfew did nothing to stop widely shared and baseless internet rumors about large groups of out-of-state people preparing to descend on Coralville to riot in the streets and loot businesses. There were similar rumors spread regarding Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, neither of which imposed curfews. None of the rumored incidents ever occurred.

Coralville residents did engage in peaceful protests following the announcement of the curfew, including protests in front of the Coralville Police Department, and a march that blocked traffic on major roads.

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