BROCKTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A day of peaceful protests in Brockton turned into a night of separate, dangerous riots overnight.

Fireworks and flares were met with tear gas along the barricade of National Guard troops, Massachusetts State Police and Brockton Police outside the police station late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

It was around the 9 p.m. curfew Tuesday night that the tone changed. Overnight, Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan said a state trooper and several Brockton police officers suffered minor injuries.

He called the people responsible “aggressive agitators” who were in no way part of the daytime protests outside the middle school.

“We had an inspiring and unifying rally at West Middle School Tuesday evening where 300 to 400 peaceful protesters expressed themselves and shared their frustrations and pain over the murder of George Floyd and other unjust killings of black citizens across the country,” Sullivan said. “Unfortunately a separate march to our police station became tense and violent as a small group of aggressive agitators threw projectiles, including bottles and rocks, at officers.”

“As a lifelong Brocktonian, I share the anger of our citizens at police misconduct across the United States, but I’m saddened that some chose violence and vandalism,” Sullivan continued. “We cannot let a few violent acts overshadow the powerful message of peace. We all need to come together to enact the systemic changes needed to make society safe for all.”

Sullivan noted that several businesses were damaged overnight, as was the courthouse downtown. 

One of the businesses damaged was the Dunkin’ on Montello Street. Video captured the moment several people started smashing windows at the coffee chain before setting a fire inside.

The owner’s son-in-law, Eric Eskander, told reporters that the coffee shop has been owned by the family for over 30 years and was the first of 58 locations they now own. 

“It’s just unfortunate. This is no indication of the masses of people who were down here for the freedom of speech. Did the right thing. Unfortunately, a few random people decided to do something different,” Eskander said. “I’m not really sure what they were trying to achieve.”