BOSTON (CBS) – A group destroyed a parked Boston Police cruiser near Downtown Crossing as violence broke out following protests in the city in response to the death of George Floyd. The cruiser burst into flames after it was smashed by a crowd of people.

It happened around 10 p.m. as Boston Police worked to clear crowds that were lingering after a largely peaceful day of protests in the city. The cruiser appeared to be unoccupied and parked as it was vandalized.

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Protesters surround a Boston Police cruiser near Downtown Crossing. (WBZ-TV)

Initially, a crowd surrounded the police cruiser, kicking and hitting it with objects and jumping on top of it. A short time later, the cruiser went up in flames.

A Boston Police SUV goes up in flames after it was damaged by protesters. (WBZ-TV)

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Boston Police urged protesters to leave the area of Tremont Street, saying they “have surrendered the moral high ground as efforts to hurt and harm police officers continue to intensify in our city.”

Firefighters initially did not approach the police cruiser, a strategy that WBZ-TV security analyst Ed Davis said was likely intentional to avoid putting crews in danger.

“You don’t get distracted by something that looks bad if people aren’t being hurt and property isn’t being damaged,” said Davis, who was Boston Police Commissioner during the Boston Marathon bombings. “This is unfortunate, but it’s not the biggest priority of the command here. The biggest priority is life and property.”

After about 20 minutes, firefighters extinguished the flames.

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This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more information becomes available.