Hundreds Arrested Across the U.S. as Protests Over George Floyd's Death Continue to Erupt
Protests over racial injustice and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd while in police custody are continuing to take place in many U.S. cities.
The protests began earlier in the week in Minneapolis when footage of Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, surfaced online.
Although Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the incident, has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday, outraged Americans have stormed their cities in dissent of racial inequality and police brutality.
The protests have carried on to major U.S cities like Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, where curfews have been implemented as means to stop the encounters between demonstrators and police, some of which have turned violent.
On Saturday, hundreds of protestors awaited the arrival of law enforcement near Fifth Precinct as the curfew approached.
According to USA Today, police officers fired nonlethal projectiles towards masses of people, including a crowd of media gathered in an alley next to a looted store. Tear gas was also reportedly used on protestors.
"State Patrol troopers are moving in to secure the Fifth Precinct. Go home and obey the curfew order now," Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted.
Minneapolis' Lake Street was also the scene of protests throughout the day. But once curfew began on Saturday, the street was nearly empty and quiet. As the night went on, smoke continued to come from several burnt buildings on the street, including the Third Precinct police station, according to USA Today, which also reported that Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said at least two dozen arrests were made on Saturday night.
Minnesota has also planned to deploy as many as 10,000 troops from the National Guard in response to the civil unrest occurring. At least, 850 were placed on duty.
According to CBS News, at least two police vehicles in New York City were set on fire throughout the protests on Saturday, which mostly occurred as protestors made their way from Times Square through Midtown to Union Square, leaving debris along the way.
One video that has been shared on Twitter showed an NYPD vehicle driving through a mass of protestors gathered after they had been throwing debris at the vehicle.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio addressed the video, and said that it was "upsetting" to him — but also noted that there was more context to the footage, according to CNN.
"Look, I’ve seen that video, and I’ve obviously heard about a number of other instances -- it’s inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers," DeBlasio said. "That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protest in this city. I’ve been watching protests for decades. People don’t do that."
"I wish the officers hadn’t done that," he said. "But I also understood that they didn’t start the situation. The situation was started by a group of protestors converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle, it’s unacceptable."
NYC police said that at least 50 arrests were made on Saturday, according to CBS News.
In Los Angeles, several police cars were vandalized on Saturday, which prompted police to fire rubber bullets into the mass crowds gathered, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Police reportedly brought in large, military-style vehicles to clear the streets. Many sign-carrying protestors were chanting “Eat the rich” on Beverly Hills' famed shopping destination, Rodeo Drive.
Many stores were looted, including a high-end consignment store on Fairfax Avenue, an eyeglass store on Melrose Avenue, a Target store in the Beverly Grove shopping center, and a Walgreens store at Fourth and Hill streets, NBC Los Angeles reported.
At 10:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and authorized the National Guard deployment.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has enacted a curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Other southern California cities have since followed suit, including Culver City, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Long Beach.
On Friday night, a Federal Protective Service officer was fatally shot in Oakland while on duty during a protest in the local area.
During the protests in Atlanta — which has resulted in many buildings being vandalized — one police officer sustained "significant injuries" and was hospitalized after being struck by someone riding an ATV, the Atlanta Police Department said.
Police also claimed that protestors damaged one police vehicle and broke windows of many buildings, including the APD's Zone 5 Precinct, a Dunkin' Donuts, and other downtown businesses.
Officers also had rocks thrown at them by protestors, the police said, adding that they have made at least 51 arrests.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms denounced the vandalism in her city during a news conference over the weekend. "What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta," she said. "This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos."
Tyler Perry also weighed in on the protests, writing on Twitter, “I’m not in Atlanta, but if I were I would have been standing with our Mayor! But there was nothing I could say better than what Mayor @KeishaBottoms said last night! Please, please stop this violence!! Looting is NOT THE ANSWER!!!!."
Killer Mike similarly referenced the peaceful demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr. in a passionate plea for demonstrators to end the vandalism. "I am duty-bound to be here to simply say: That it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy," he said during a news conference. "It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize."
At least 14 people in Philadelphia were arrested during protests on Saturday, police told NBC News, while 13 police officers were injured, including a bicycle officer who was run over by a vehicle.
Downtown businesses in Chicago were damaged Saturday during protests, including convenience stores, fast-food chains and clothing stores, all of which had their windows knocked out, according to ABC 7.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that officers struck multiple demonstrators with batons amid the protest.
According to Chicago police, four people have been shot, including a 26-year old who was killed by a man that got out of a car and started hitting the victim with a handgun before he shot him in the chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said, while the suspect got back into his car and drove off immediately after the murder.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed a curfew starting Saturday night from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m, effective immediately and "until further notice," ABC 7 reported.