Deaths fuel pub­lic rage against racism


Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BREN­DAN O’BRIEN AND CAR­LOS BARRIA in Minneapoli­s

Ma­jor U.S. cities feared an­other night of vi­o­lent protests on Sun­day over the death of Ge­orge Floyd in po­lice cus­tody, clean­ing up bro­ken glass and burned-out cars af­ter cur­fews failed to stop con­fronta­tions be­tween ac­tivists and law en­force­ment.

What be­gan as peace­ful demon­stra­tions over the death of Floyd, who died as a white Minneapoli­s po­lice of­fi­cer knelt on his neck, has be­come a wave of out­rage sweep­ing a po­lit­i­cally and racially di­vided na­tion.

Pro­test­ers have flooded streets af­ter weeks of lock­downs dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic that threw mil­lions out of work and hit mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties es­pe­cially hard.

As demon­stra­tors broke win­dows and set fires, po­lice fired rub­ber bul­lets and tear gas to dis­perse crowds in many cities. In some cases, by­s­tanders and mem­bers of the me­dia were tar­geted.

In one video from Minneapoli­s, a Na­tional Guard Humvee rolls down a res­i­den­tial street fol­lowed by what ap­pear to be po­lice of­fi­cers wear­ing tac­ti­cal gear. An of­fi­cer orders res­i­dents to go in­side, then yells “light ’em up” be­fore shoot­ing pro­jec­tiles at a group of peo­ple on their front porch. The city’s cur­few does not ap­ply to res­i­dents out­side on their pri­vate prop­erty.

In New York City, po­lice ar­rested about 350 peo­ple on Satur­day night and 30 of­fi­cers suf­fered mi­nor in­juries. Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said po­lice con­duct was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, in­clud­ing widely shared videos show­ing a po­lice sport util­ity ve­hi­cle in Brook­lyn lurch­ing into a crowd of pro­test­ers who were pelt­ing it with de­bris.

De Bla­sio said he had not seen a sep­a­rate video show­ing an of­fi­cer pulling down the mask of a black pro­tester who had his hands in the air, then spray­ing a sub­stance in his face.

The closely packed crowds and demon­stra­tors not wear­ing masks sparked fears of a resur­gence of COVID-19, which has killed more than 100,000 Amer­i­cans.

Vi­o­lence spread overnight de­spite cur­fews in sev­eral ma­jor cities rocked by civil un­rest in re­cent days, in­clud­ing At­lanta, Los An­ge­les, Philadel­phia, Den­ver, Cincin­nati, Port­land, Ore­gon, and Louisville, Ken­tucky.

Philadel­phia on Sun­day moved the city’s cur­few ear­lier, to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m. lo­cal time, and or­dered all busi­nesses to close as lo­cal TXFTV showed images of groups of pro­test­ers at­tack­ing po­lice cars, set­ting one on fire. Other peo­ple went into nearby stores and came out with arm­fuls of mer­chan­dise.


Peo­ple at­tend a rally at the Min­nesota state capi­tol build­ing in St. Paul on Sun­day to protest the death of Ge­orge Floyd — an un­armed black man — in po­lice cus­tody.

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