BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the people responsible for violence and destruction in Boston Sunday night following the conclusion of peaceful protests are “criminals and cowards” and added that the state cannot allow them to “sow chaos” into a powerful movement.

Photos: Boston Protests Over George Floyd Death Turn Into Riots

Boston Police arrested 53 people and summonsed one after the protests in response to the death of George Floyd turned destructive. Businesses were vandalized and looted, and dozens of people were hurt in clashes with police.

“I want to thank everyone who marched and exercised their right to free speech safely last night,” Baker said at his Monday press briefing. “Tens of thousands of our neighbors, friends and colleagues tried when possible, to balance the new normal we live in, but also their right to free speech. I want to thank everyone who made their voices heard, with the safety of those around you, in mind.”

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Echoing the message he sent out late Sunday night, Baker admonished the people who helped turn the peaceful message to violence.

“To the criminals and cowards that tarnished that night’s peaceful protest. I expect your day in court will come soon,” said Baker. “The destruction of property, the looting the criminal attempts to injure law enforcement are unacceptable. The people in Massachusetts cannot let these individuals succeed and their goal to sow chaos into the fabric of what is an important effort and movement.”


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