Cleanup begins again in Greensboro following overnight protests

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — People living and working in downtown Greensboro spent another morning cleaning up glass, debris, and damage after people broke away from what started as a peaceful protest in Downtown Greensboro, and started damaging several businesses.

Some of the work started before the sun came up this morning, as shop owners dealt with spray paint on their walls and doors, glass smashed out of windows, and for some what was their livelihoods taken.

“Terrible for the shop owner, terrible for the owner of the building, terrible for me, I’ve got to clean it up,” Jerry Johnson said. He was one of many trying to clean up downtown businesses on Monday morning. 

“This, I’ll never get that off, I’ll have to match that. This I’m working with but it’s going to take a while,” he said.

Up and down Elm Street, stores have windows covered with plywood, some are left with shattered windows, glass littered the sidewalks and streets. 

“I had a business owner just now who was decimated, her windows, her store, her inventory that was taken, almost everything was taken. One of the things she said was, you know we’ve been closed for three months, we’re finally reopening, and they took everything, but most importantly they took her soul,” Zack Matheny the President of Downtown Greensboro Inc. said. 

He says this damage, on top of months of losses from the pandemic, is too much for a lot of shop owners. 

“Now they haven’t had the money, income for the last three months, and now they’ve got to replace everything and it’s a tragedy to them and hopefully they’ll be able to stay in business but this is going to hurt,” Matheny said.

Instead of looking forward to expanding their seating into the streets and sidewalks to get in some of that much-needed foot traffic, some shops are deciding whether or not to board up for now.

“You know I’ve been asked certainly, what do you think should we board up? And there’s no urban developer that would say absolutely… I want a boarded up downtown. But if it was my business I would encourage them to take their precautions,” Matheny said.

“We’re going to board up. I think we better. Get all of this, and the Re/Max is our building too,” Johnson said.

Despite the hardships, people are trying to be resilient, fixing what they can, supporting each other, and hoping things get better soon.

“It just is what it is, and everything’s going to be alright I think,” Johnson said.

Matheny says he is working with the Greensboro City Council and Police Chief Brian James to try and get the situation under control and help protect businesses. 

Protests have erupted across the country in the wake of death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

The Lincoln Financial Group building was among the buildings with shattered windows.

This is the second night protestors have caused damage in downtown Greensboro.

Some businesses were damaged during protests Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

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