Police Violence Persists During Protest Marches (June 5)
Demonstrations have continued across the country calling for justice after the death of George Floyd, although somewhat smaller in size and with fewer reports of violence or looting.
However, more reports of police violence have surfaced, bringing questions of whether or not law enforcement has listened to the words of marchers.
A video from Buffalo, New York, went viral last night showing a 75-year-old man shoved to the ground by police as he approached them. The man is seen falling back onto the ground, his head bleeding. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he is in “serious but stable” condition, according to USA Today.
The two officers involved in the incident have been suspended, The Buffalo News reports.
In Indianapolis, police are being investigated after reports of a woman being struck repeatedly by officers’ batons.
In a video that has spread on social media, two women are being arrested, when one, who is Black, is grabbed by a policeman, but she twists away from him, only to be approached by other officers. She is then struck with pepper balls and beaten with batons until she collapses to the ground as police pin her down.
The other woman, who is white, shouts “Why her!?” as police subdue the woman.
Indianapolis police spokesperson Sgt. Grace Sibley told the Indianapolis Star that the department has opened up an internal investigation, but declined further comment.
New York City, while remaining under an 8 p.m. curfew, conflicts between police and protesters persisted. In one incident, police boxed in a group of protesters before going after them with batons. In another, police rushed a different group making tackles of demonstrators and then arresting them.
“Mainstream media coverage doesn’t do justice to how these protests actually are,” Shakaa Chaiban, 20, of Brooklyn, told The New York Times. “They’re not portraying the unity and the demands and whose responsibility the violence is.”
At least 13,000 people around the country have been arrested in demonstrations responding to police brutality, according to reports.
Arrests of Four Minneapolis Officers Brings Some Relief To Demonstrators (June 4)
With the four officers involved with the police killing of George Floyd now in custody and charged Wednesday (June 3), protests around the country were large and mostly peaceful as marchers felt the case was put on a path toward justice.
In Washington, the site of violent assaults from law enforcement in previous days, the scene was much more calm. But access to Lafayette Park, which is adjacent to the White House has been cut off, The Washington Post reported.
In New York, which saw some of the nation’s most extreme examples of nighttime violence earlier in the week, police were enforcing its 8 p.m. curfew more strictly in order to keep people off the streets. In a particular incident which has become a viral video, at least three police officers are seen beating a man on his bike, the New York Daily News reported. The cyclist was apparently trying to move away from one officer when two more approach him and start hitting him with their batons.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the officers who beat the man, saying in a Twitter post, "This isn’t a problem of bad apples or incidents. This is an institutional and systemic crisis."
New Yorkers were elated when charges against former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were announced, upgrading charges against Chauvin to Second Degree murder and charging the others as accessories.
“I think it’s great, but more needs to happen. This isn’t enough. That’s why we’re still out here,” said Isaiah Sparks, 28, told the Daily News. “This is way bigger than George Floyd. This is about the next guy who’s going to get killed. This is about the guys who got killed before him.”
In Atlanta, marches were largely peaceful a day after six officers were charged with tasering and abusing two college students who were caught in traffic during demonstrations last weekend. Atlanta police chief Erika Shields fired two of the officers and apologized for their behavior, but called the charges against all six “political jockeying,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has pledged to establish an oversight commission that will examine police use-of-force policies, the AJC reported.
There is also new controversy about another police killing similar to that of Floyd’s and Eric Garner's in New York. A Black man in Tacoma, Washington, who gasped “I can’t breathe” while being restrained by police in a March incident was determined to be the victim of homicide, The New York Times reports. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said Manuel Ellis, 33, died shortly after his encounter with Tacoma police. “The information is all being put together,” Detective Troyer said. “We expect to present it to the prosecutor at the end of this week or early next week.”
In Austin, a teen remains hospitalized after police shot him in the face with what they call “bean bag ammunition,” which was intended to be less lethal, CBS Austin reports. Police reportedly fired the projectile at 16-year-old Brad Levi Ayala, while he was standing on a hill during a protest.
"He's strong. He's a strong guy and he's going to be fine, but he's just in a lot of pain," said Edwin Sanchez, Ayala’s brother.
At least 13,350 in 43 cities nationwide have been arrested for civil unrest, CBS News reports. New York and Los Angeles have the most with a combined 5,000 people taken into custody.
Peaceful Protests Continue In America As Other Countries Show Their Support (June 3)
Cities across the country were much more calm Tuesday night following a day of overall peaceful demonstrations in protest of police violence toward African Americans.
Sundown curfews in places like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC, went largely ignored as marchers continued to call for justice well into the night.
Confrontations between demonstrators and police persisted in Los Angeles as standoffs during the day and night occurred. In some instances police fired rubber bullets at them as they surrounded officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I’ve been protesting for the last 10 years. I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired,” Heaven Bouldin told the L.A. Times. “My people have been getting killed for the last 200 years. We’re in 2020 and we still can’t bring an end to this.... Somebody has to do something.”
As the tension continues nationwide, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said that he will "hold everyone accountable” who was connected with the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 when former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin continuously kneeled on his neck. He has been charged in his murder. Investigations are still continuing to explore the possibility of charging the other officers, J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane who were on the scene of the fatal encounter. All four have been fired.
"I can assure you we are taking a fresh look," Ellison said on CNN Tuesday (June 2). "We plan to hold everyone accountable who is legally culpable," he said, explaining that while he has spent the last 24 hours reviewing evidence, he cannot ethically comment as a prosecutor.
Meanwhile the Associated Press reports as many as 9,300 arrests, including 1,500 in New York and 2,700 in Los Angeles, have been recorded since demonstrations began the week after Floyd’s police killing. About 20,000 National Guard members were activated in 29 states.
Demonstrators in Washington were still angered by President Trump’s decision to tear gas protestors so he could have a photo op at a church across the street from Lafayette Park, which is adjacent to the White House. According to The Washington Post, Attorney General William Barr actually ordered law enforcement to clear the crowds so that the photo op could take place.
But protestors on Tuesday night remained defiant, still facing police and chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” the Post reported.
The uprisings across America have also garnered international reaction as demonstrations in London, Berlin, and even New Zealand joined in solidarity with U.S. marchers. At a press conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about Trump’s response to protesters, and he paused for 21 seconds, looking down at his lectern before he could muster the words to respond.
Trump Has Peaceful Protestors Tear Gassed as Demonstrations Continue Around the Country (June 2)
What was generally seen as a peaceful protest near the White House on Monday (June 1) turned into chaos as law enforcement used tear gas on demonstrators to clear a path for President Trump to take a photo in front of burned out St. John’s church.
The attack came shortly after Trump gave a speech in which he threatened military intervention in response to nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Trump also called himself an “ally” of peaceful protesters.
"We all watch in horror and consternation what's going on in the United States," he said, according to NPR. "It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen. It is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we too have our challenges" he said.
"That Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day," he continued. "There is systemic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of color, Canadians who are racialized, as differently than they do others."
In the Vatican, Pope Francis issued a call for peace and reconciliation, noting that he has ’’witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest,” the AP reports.
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he said.
In South Africa, a nation that spent most of the 20th century fighting against the apartheid system of racial oppression, leaders called for officials to use “maximum restraint” in handling the demonstrations over the death of Floyd.
“South Africa, too, supports the clarion calls for practical action to address the inadequacies highlighted by protesters,” said Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor in a statement, the AP reports.
Even in Iran, which is in a continued diplomatic standoff with the United States, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted American law enforcement for what happened to Floyd. “They kill people in an open crime, and they do not offer an apology while claiming (to support) human rights,” Khamenei said, according to the AP. “Apparently, the African American man who was killed there was not a human being.”
The demonstrations continued as those closest to Floyd deal with the aftermath of his death. “I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took,” Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna, said during a news conference in Minneapolis. “I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”
The Washington Post reports that at about 15 minutes before a 7 PM, curfew, flash bang shells, gas and rubber bullets were fired into the Lafayette Park crowd forcing them to scatter, causing a melee.
“The president used force against American citizens, not to protect property, but to soothe his own insecurities,” former Capitol Hill aide and Republican political commentator Brendan Buck told The Post. “We will all move on to the next outrage, but this was a true abuse of power and should not be forgotten.”
While the Trump Administration is reportedly organizing federal aid for cities that have seen extensive damage as a result of the violence, he is also considering invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807, USA Today reports. That would give him the power to deploy active duty military in the streets of America. The last time it was reportedly used was in 1992 when Los Angeles exploded in social unrest after the Rodney King verdicts.
An inspiring video from the peaceful protests in Lafayette Park is going viral for showing a young Black man stepping ahead of the line of protesters to kneel and put his hands up in front of an approaching police and a young white woman jumps in front of him to protect him from the police. They both stand up after a few seconds.
Around the country, the clashes with police and demonstrators continued for a seventh day. While many exercises remained peaceful, there were pockets of violence that persisted. In Las Vegas, one person is dead while an officer was left in critical condition late Monday (June 1), after shots rang out while police were trying to break up a protest, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Many cities have also instituted curfews to try to control the demonstrations.
In New York, there were peaceful demonstrations throughout the day and into the evening in places like Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and in Lower Manhattan, but skirmishes sprang up in other areas. Looters destroyed property and set fires in the Bronx after night fell, as well as in Greenwich Village.
Demonstrators are also targeting confederate symbols as well. In Nashville, a statue of Edward Carmack, a newspaper publisher who was said to espouse racist views was torn down on Saturday, according to The Tennesseean. Also, the Robert E. Lee Memorial and Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond, Virginia was covered in graffiti, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The Daughters of the Confederacy headquarters, located in the city, was also vandalized and sustained fire damage, the newspaper reports.
Peaceful George Floyd Demonstrations Continue But Violent Incidents Persist (June 1)
Protests around the country on Sunday over the death of George Floyd were largely peaceful in various cities, although in places like Los Angeles, New York and Washington, violence continued to break out between demonstrators and police.
In Minneapolis, a semi truck drove into a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators on highway I-35 before people in the crowd dragged the driver out of the rig and beat him, according to Reuters. There were no reports of injuries from the incident. According to witnesses, the truck careened toward the demonstrators, causing them to scatter before it stopped. Police arrived soon after and arrested the driver, who was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The news comes as Minnesota’s attorney general Keith Ellison was put in charge of the prosecution of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with Floyd’s murder.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Gov. Tim Walz's decision to have Ellison take the lead comes after requests from activists, some City Council members and a civil rights group.
Ellison confirmed the news via Twitter on Sunday (May 31), writing, "It is with a large degree of humility and a great seriousness, I accept for my office the responsibility for leadership on this critical case involving the killing of George Floyd."
He continued, "We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case."
But protests in several cities were described as peaceful, even inspiring as demonstrators stayed with the message of demanding justice for Floyd.
In Philadelphia, people gathered near City Hall near the historical statues of 19th century African-American civil rights leader and abolitionist Octavius Catto.
"Hopefully the teenagers in this world can stand up and make a change because I think Gen Z is a very powerful generation and we've come through a lot and I think is just the beginning," Faye Joseph of Newtown, Pennsylvania told local station WPVI.
In Jackson, Mississippi, there were no reported incidents as marchers came to the governor’s mansion to call for justice. “We’re asking, ‘do you care about the lives that are being taken? Do you care about police brutality? If you do, show up and speak up.’,” organizer Bria Williams told station WAPT. “That's why we’re here today. No hate, no division, no burning up anything. Just complete unison to fight for Black lives.”
In New York, in both Manhattan and Brooklyn on Sunday marches took place through the streets, across the Brooklyn Bridge, through Times Square and Downtown Manhattan, largely without incident.
Members of the NYPD even kneeled with demonstrators to show solidarity with them, according to CNN. At a protest in Queens, several officers took a knee as the crowd around them expressed surprise. "I definitely didn't expect that," said Aleeia Abraham, who took the video. "I've never seen that."
Others brought their children to be a part of what they felt was an opportunity to be heard on such an important topic.
"My son has been really disturbed by this and he's really troubled and I think he felt like he needed to feel empowered in coming out here and trying to find an opportunity to speak or be around other people who are also feeling the pain," one protester told WABC. "That felt very powerful for him so that was a very necessary thing to do."
Later in the night, in Manhattan, though, there were reports of looting in stores in the SoHo area. About 250 people were arrested, CBS New York said.
In Washington, DC on Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators near the White House faced off with police as U.S. Secret Service moved President Trump to an underground bunker, according to USA Today. Demonstrations through the daytime, had been largely peaceful and without incident.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked California Gov. Gavin Newsom for 1,000 national guard troops to quell looting that took place throughout the weekend in various parts of the city. By Sunday morning, troops were seen protecting buildings that were strewn with graffiti and broken windows, the Los Angeles Times reports. Similar scenes were prevalent in many cities nationwide as authorities tried to get a handle on lawlessness that erupted at night after peaceful protesters went home.
Floyd’s death at police hands has ignited six days of nationwide unrest in which at least 4,000 people have been reportedly arrested, according to CNN. More than 40 cities have imposed curfews, and the National Guard has been activated in at least 15 states.
UPDATE May 31:
As protests continue around the country demonstrators let their voices be heard for the fifth night on Saturday (May 31) and police ramped up their attacks on peaceful gatherings.
The ongoing protests in 75 American cities following the police killing of George Floyd took a chaotic turn, as police were recorded tear-gassing protesters in Minneapolis, driving vehicles through crowds in Brooklyn, beating men and women with batons in Los Angeles and tasering a Black couple in Atlanta trying to make it to their home.
Many are calling for charges against law enforcement officers who escalated violence at what were often peaceful demonstrations against police brutality.
This video from Brooklyn shows a police officer pulling down the face mask of a protestor with his hands up and pepper spraying the man in the face.
Video from Los Angeles showed a sea of peaceful protestors marching until police began firing tear gas and beating people with batons.
Insecure star Kendrick Sampson was targeted with rubber bullets and tried to protect another demonstrator being beaten.
Y’all ain’t see no police f—ing up white folks when they took guns to the statehouse,” Sampson said, referring to an incident in Michigan over coronavirus restrictions, not in California. “Y’all didn’t see police attacking white folks, beating em up with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets when they brought guns to f—ing state houses. We came up here with no weapons, with masks.… And we’re the ones who are not peaceful.”
In Minneapolis, in addition to attacks from police, many are still concerned about white demonstrators with ulterior motives.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Larry Arman, a Black man in a T-shirt that said “You’re gonna stop killing us,” approached a young white man in a Guy Fawkes mask and three of his friends, calling them out for creating violence that gets blamed on African Americans in the city.
“Nothing’s going to change until people start getting touched, not buildings,” Arman told reporters, adding that no one was creating havoc in the suburbs. “This is the only place where it looks like the end of the world. Let’s stop making it look like that.”
Curfews were enacted in at least 25 cities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, D.C., and Minneapolis.
SATURDAY, MAY 30:
Protests in Los Angeles on Saturday (May 30) began peacefully, but spiraled into violence after police arrived and a white person was seen setting fire to a police car, according to multiple eyewitnesses.
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared information relayed to her by a friend who just left a group of demonstrators at the intersection of 3rd and Fairfax, near West Hollywood, and had witnessed a “non-Black person pull out a hammer and start attacking a police car.” Black people subsequently surrounder her and demanded she stop. The group the woman was with, according to Brown, set that police car on fire.
Multiple others who were and currently are at the protests in L.A. claim they were peaceful until LAPD arrived and allegedly escalated the situation. One reason for the escalation from police, according to protesters like Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson, who spent the day on the front lines: protesters began moving towards the ritzy, majority white neighborhood of Beverly Hills.
Protests in Washington D.C. are also escalating. According to Reuters news service, barricades meant to block protesters from the White House have been knocked down.
FRIDAY, MAY 29:
In Detroit, protestors rallied in the downtown area calling for an end to police brutality and justice on the George Floyd murder case. According to the Detroit Free Press, it began as a peaceful protest at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters on Friday afternoon.
But clashes between police and protesters went well past midnight. A 19-year-old man was reportedly killed after shots were fired into crowds, according to a release from the Detroit Police Department. Police told reporters that an unknown suspect in a gray Dodge Durango pulled up and fired into the crowd and then fled the scene.
In Charlotte, hundreds of protestors also took to the streets. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted a plea for peace: “Urging those in our community who are protesting tonight to refrain from violence. We can have activism and protests without violence.”
In Oakland, a protest billed as the Minneapolis Solidarity Demonstration started out peacefully. But, according to the East Bay Times, police declared the march an “unlawful assembly” and began to disperse the crowd gathered in front of police headquarters. Oakland officials told reporters they estimated 8,000 protesters were scattered around the downtown area.
Additional marches are reportedly planned in Oakland this weekend. The Anti-Police Terror Project plans to hold a virtual vigil Saturday afternoon and a car caravan for Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
People across the country have gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, the latest on the long list of names of Black people who have died at the hands of police this year.
Demonstrations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and other locations have resulted in clashes with police, some turning violent.
After hours of peaceful protesting in downtown Atlanta tonight, some instigators — who, according to eyewitness photos and video, appear to be white — reportedly turned the situation violent by smashing windows, setting a police car on fire, vandalizing the CNN logo at CNN headquarters, and breaking into The College Football Hall of Fame.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed the protesters at a news conference: "This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr."
"You are disgracing our city," she told protesters. "You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home, go home."
At the podium, Bottoms was joined by rappers T.I. and Killer Mike, as well as King's daughter, Bernice King.
In Minneapolis, protestors violated the city’s curfew and took to the streets for the fourth night in a row. According to the Minneapolis Star, hundreds of peaceful marchers stopped traffic on the Hennepin Avenue bridge near downtown Minneapolis, then marched onto Interstate 35W and back downtown.
Near the burned out Third Precinct police building, many in the crowd reportedly took a knee and held their fists in the air calling for all four officers at the scene of George Floyd’s fatal arrest to be charged.
Protests in downtown Brooklyn swiftly turned chaotic as police clashed with those calling for accountability in front of the Barclays Center.
According to the NY Post, hundreds of protesters surrounded the 88th precinct in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood while some set an empty NYPD van stationed at Fort Greene park on fire.
“I want to just say anyone who wants to protest, we’re going to protect your right to protest, but please also respect [that] the cop in front of you did not create the problem,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday on WNYC radio’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.”
POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH MURDER
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who was recorded in a cellphone video with his knee in the neck of George Floyd while attempting to apprehend him, causing his death, was arrested today (May 29) and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, the Hennepin County, Minnesota attorney Mike Freeman announced.
He was reportedly taken into custody by the Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
“We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” said Freeman. “We have never charged a case in that kind of time frame and we can only charge a case when we have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington had sent out notification of the arrest Friday afternoon (May 29).
The booking photo of the fired officer was posted online Friday night.
The other three officers seen in the video of the fatal encounter Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also all fired but have yet to be charged.
TWITTER FLAGS TRUMP TWEETS FOR INCITING VIOLENCE
Twitter placed a warning on a tweet sent out by Donald Trump Friday morning saying that demonstrators in Minneapolis, angered over the police killing of George Floyd, could be shot.
Trump accused the city’s leadership of failing to control the situation and threatened to send in the National Guard. In a followup tweet, he called demonstrators “thugs,” and added, “any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The “looting and shooting” reference is reportedly a throwback to remarks made in 1967 by then-Miami police chief Walter Headley, who had a reputation for supporting police harassment and had announced a “crackdown on slum hoodlums,” which was quoted in a United Press International story at the time. “We haven’t had any serious problems with civil uprising and looting,” he said, “because I’ve let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The tweet from Trump, sent out early Friday (May 29), was in response to the violence that has increased over the past three nights in Minneapolis as protesters call for justice and charges against the officers involved in Floyd’s death.
THE OBAMAS CALL FOR CALM AND ACTION
Former President Barack Obama shared parts of the conversations he has had over the past few days in the aftermath of the police killing in Minneapolis.
In a message posted to Twitter Friday afternoon, he relayed the frustrations felt by many, who note that incidents ranging from racial injustice to the coronavirus pandemic cannot be regarded as normal and that the country must commit to improving itself.
Michelle Obama has also been doing a lot of reflecting as of late and posted that she’s “exhausted” over the mounting death toll of Black men and women in America.
Taking to her social media account, Mrs. Obama posted an illustration of George Floyd and relayed the sadness she and millions more are going through over his death.
“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies. And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on,” the former First Lady wrote.
She continued, “Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it.”