Deaths fuel public rage against racism
OUTRAGE AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY, RACISM SWEEPS NATION
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.