By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Just minutes after President Trump chided American governors for not "dominating" violent protesters, Gov. Eric Holcomb vowed to use "Every breath we take, every breath we have left should be devoted to making sure what happened to Mr. Floyd never happens again."

Noting that his state is now battling the COVID-19 virus and violence in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis a week ago, Holcomb observed, "What started as a justifiable, and actually, needed protest has turned into something else. Indiana, we don't have more time or lives to lose. I implore every Hoosier...to use your breath, your will, in efforts that bridge, not divide. Only then will these tense and turbulent times give way to the more optimistic days ahead."

It marked a trifecta in civil discord with the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed 2,000 Hoosiers since March launched the state into a 16.9% jobless rate as the shutdown tanked the economy, and then the spasm of violence over the weekend spread to more than a dozen Indiana cities.

Holcomb added, "Violence in the streets makes progress on all of these fronts harder. It's just unconscionable to me that someone would go to these monuments that represent men and women that gave their lives so that people would have that First Amendment right to assemble peacefully. To speak, peacefully."

"The folks who are peacefully responding to the extreme injustice that was done to Mr. George Floyd ... that is a noble cause. To not just protest that, but to seek change from it. Violence in the streets makes progress on all these fronts harder and sets us back from forming that more perfect union."”

As Holcomb spoke, smart phones across the state blared an "emergency alert" that Marion County would be under a curfew from 8 p.m. tonight until 4 a.m. Tuesday. At the same time, another peaceful protest was moving toward the Statehouse from Monument Circle.

Holcomb was preparing his remarks as President Trump had a conference call with governors, reportedly chiding them for being "weak" before saying, “If you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. It’s like a war. . . . It is a war in a certain sense. And we will end it fast. Be tough.” It came days after Trump began tweeting incendiary remarks, at one point reviving a civil rights era slogan: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Holcomb was flanked by Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter and Indiana National Guard Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles at his Statehouse south atrium presser. Carter said that over the weekend, ISP resources worked hand in glove in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Hobart, Michigan City, Merrillville, Tell City, Evansville, Jeffersonville and other locations.

Curfews were invoked in Indianapolis, Michigan City, Fort Wayne and Hammond, where Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., intervened during a Saturday protest, urging protesters and authorities to begin a dialogue as neighboring Chicago simmered. “When I got there, nobody was talking to each other," McDermott told the NWI Times. "The cops were digging in and not let them get to the highway and the protesters were yelling (curses) at them. The crowd it was extremely hostile."

"Hear me loud and clear," Carter said at one point. "Law enforcement is not without sin. And we collectively own some of this distrust. We are human beings, just like you. And the death of George Floyd is a stern reminder that we, and what I represent, have much left to do." But he deplored the violence that left three dead in downtown Indianapolis. "This is not the way to solve complex, real and historic conflict," Carter said.

Gen. Lyles said that National Guard assets were used Sunday to defend four sites in Indianapolis. "On Sunday ... soldiers and airmen from the reactionary force established a force at state properties in downtown Indy to protect centuries-old monuments that were defaced on Saturday."

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