ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp told Channel 2 Action News in an exclusive interview what local officials are doing to keep violence and looting from breaking out again after a night of unrest in Atlanta Friday.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke 1-on-1 with Kemp throughout the evening Saturday as protests unfolded across the area.
The protests were sparked by the death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis earlier this week.
George Floyd died on Memorial Day after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. That officer has since been arrested, but Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide protests.
On Friday night, a planned, peaceful protest in downtown Atlanta turned violent, leaving police cars destroyed and businesses damaged.
Kemp said that while he supports the right to protest, what happened Friday night is unacceptable.
"We support people being able voice their concerns and express their opinions, quite honestly, but we're not going to support people, whether they are here or from other places around the country, coming in here and destroying lives and property," Kemp said. "That's not how we roll in Georgia and I know it's not how people roll in Atlanta."
Kemp indicated that officials think the people who engaged in looting and violence were not in Atlanta to demand justice for Floyd. Kemp said many of those protesters may not have been from Georgia at all.
"There are people that have a different agenda," Kemp said of the looters. "Their agenda is not demanding justice for the injustices we've seen around the country, and that we've seen in Georgia."
Kemp deployed 1,500 National Guard troops to metro Atlanta Saturday night to keep the peace and is also working with other state and local agencies.
"These people that were here last night have a different agenda," Kemp said. "And we have a different agenda tonight."
Kemp said the city would adopt a "zero tolerance" policy Saturday night.
"My message to these folks who are from out of town or wherever they're from is, when they go somewhere to do that, we're already going to be there," Kemp said.
Rumors circulated on social media earlier Saturday that groups of looters planned to target several metro Atlanta malls. There was a heavy National Guard and police presence at Lenox Mall Saturday night.
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