An angry mob outraged at the death of George Floyd stormed CNN’s world headquarters Friday night in Atlanta, vandalizing the building’s facade, breaking windows, and tossing a firecracker or smoke bomb at officers blocking the entrance.
Video posted by CNN personalities and others showed demonstrators in a large, rowdy crowd jumping on police cars outside the CNN Center, which was defaced with graffiti, setting fires, and throwing rocks and bottles.
Police reacted by deploying tear gas and making some arrests, as shown on video.
“That is the CNN world headquarters,” said CNN host Chris Cuomo. “Police had been outside, and then as the crowds advanced on CNN, and they were on top of the CNN logo and spray-painting things on it, and they started to light cars on fire and become increasingly violent, we had the police move inside CNN and then the windows of CNN were broken. And so you had a big point of ingress.”
The crowd was one of many that gathered at major cities across the nation to protest the death of Mr. Floyd, 46, who died Monday in Minneapolis after an officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest for using a phony $20 bill at a grocery store.
“What you’re seeing live on CNN is vandalism in the lobby of CNN Center in Atlanta. So disturbing to see,” tweeted CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter. “FYI: Our control rooms and newsroom employees are several floors and locked doors away. The coverage continues, no matter what.”
A furious Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms condemned Mr. Floyd’s “murder” as well as the violence, unloading on protesters who targeted the CNN Center.
“They’re telling our stories, and you are disgracing their building,” Ms. Bottoms said at a Friday press conference.
She cited Atlanta’s history of black mayors, police chiefs and business owners as well as the city’s tradition of peaceful civil-rights protest.
“So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta,” Ms. Bottoms said. “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos.”
She added, “When you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.”
CNN reporter Nick Valencia said the crowds began showing up at 3 p.m., throwing rocks at 7 p.m., and set a car on fire shortly before 8 p.m., which “really instigated this crowd.”
“It was earlier tonight that our crew got shot with what we believe was a BB gun,” said Mr. Valencia, adding, “These are demonstrators that are very, very upset here tonight, and they came here to confront police. There’s no peacefulness about this at all whatsoever.”
He also said that the agitators outnumbered police officers by about 4:1.
Protesters turned out Friday night at a number of U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C., in reaction to the death of Mr. Floyd, who is black. Former cop Derek Chauvin, 44, who is white, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in his death.
“You’re actually not looking at Minneapolis. On your screen, you’ll see it’s Atlanta,” Mr. Cuomo added.