Fiery Clashes Erupt Between Police and Protesters Over George Floyd Death


Protesters who took to the streets in Minneapolis for the fifth straight night time on Saturday met a extra decided response from law enforcement officials and National Guard troops, as demonstrations escalated in dozens of cities throughout the nation — an outpouring of nationwide anger sparked by the dying of a black man in police custody.

Soon after an eight p.m. curfew took impact, the police in Minneapolis started arresting protesters and firing tear gasoline and different projectiles towards crowds, and the National Guard used a helicopter to dump water on a burning automotive.

The forceful response mirrored the will of authorities to halt the violent protests which have unfold nationwide since George Floyd, 46, died after being pinned down by a white Minneapolis police officer. There had been nonetheless reviews of violence and destruction: a fireplace on the roof of a shopping center, an individual who shot a gun at officers, and a bunch of individuals throwing gadgets on the police. But state officers stated round 11 p.m. native time that they had been inspired by the smaller crowds and obvious lower in injury. Much of town was empty shortly after midnight.

But whilst aerial videos from Minneapolis showed police officers largely keeping demonstrators at bay, other cities were being overwhelmed, despite hastily imposed curfews.

Mayors ordered people off the streets in many of the nation’s largest cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami. And governors in at least eight states, including Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado and Tennessee, called up National Guard troops in an attempt to impose order, often with little success.

President Trump has harshly criticized the unrest, and Attorney General William P. Barr warned on Saturday that people inflicting the destruction could face federal charges. Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said the people defying curfews and trying to instigate police were no longer protesting police brutality, but rather seeking to exploit Mr. Floyd’s death for their own political motives.

Tens of thousands of people were in the streets across the United States on Saturday night, as demonstrations stretched from coast to coast in a national paroxysm of rage that saw buildings set on fire, businesses looted and an aggressive response from the authorities.

Protests have taken place in at least 75 cities and have reached the gates of the White House in the days since the death of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis. The imposition of curfews by mayors appeared to be more widespread on Saturday than at any time since the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

The turmoil was on display a short distance from the White House, where President Trump had called earlier in the day for his supporters to rally. Instead, hundreds of protesters mobilized on the streets of the nation’s capital as tensions ratcheted higher.

Demonstrators hurled projectiles, including water bottles, fireworks and bricks, and wrested barricades from the police, who responded by lobbing canisters of tear gas into the crowd. Buildings up and down the streets near the White House were sprayed with graffiti, including the entrance of the Hay-Adams, a luxury hotel.

Nearby, scaffolding on a construction site behind the United States Chamber of Commerce could be seen on fire. The windows at the entrance of the building were smashed.

Around 11 p.m., two cars were set ablaze on an adjacent block, and a local bank was vandalized, its windows broken and the numbers “666” sprayed across the front.

As police officers moved to secure the block, a Chevy Suburban was engulfed in a plume of black smoke; trees nearby were on fire. The crowds retreated into Farragut Square to regroup as helicopters circled overhead, and some split off back toward the White House.

President Trump had made a series of statements throughout the day that did little to tamp down the outrage nationwide. Speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, he criticized the authorities in Minnesota for allowing protests to turn violent, and offered the help of the military to contain further demonstrations.

In a series of tweets, he called demonstrators who gathered at the White House on Friday night “professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’” and suggested that his supporters would meet them. “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota activated thousands of additional National Guard troops to send to Minneapolis but declined the Army’s offer to deploy military police units, as days of protests over the death of Mr. Floyd threatened to boil over even further on Saturday.

Mr. Walz, a Democrat, acknowledged that officials had underestimated the demonstrations in Minneapolis, where despite a newly issued curfew, people burned buildings and turned the city’s streets into a smoldering battleground on Friday night. He compared the havoc to wars that Americans have fought overseas, and said he expected even more unrest on Saturday night.

“What you’ve seen in previous nights, I think, will be dwarfed by what they will do tonight,” he said.

One person was killed and three others were injured when a gunman fired shots at a protest in Indianapolis early Sunday morning, bringing to at least four the total number of people killed since Wednesday in violence connected with the protests.

The authorities were also investigating a possible connection with the shooting death of a federal officer in California.

The officer, a contract security guard for the Department of Homeland Security, was shot and killed outside a federal courthouse in Oakland, Calif., on Friday night as demonstrations in the city turned violent, with protesters setting fires, destroying property and clashing with the police.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting deputy secretary, called the attack an act of “domestic terrorism,” but the state’s governor cautioned against connecting the shooting with the protests.

“No one should rush to conflate this heinous act with the protests last night,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, in a statement.

Elsewhere, people were killed when once-peaceful protests descended into violence.

The authorities in Minneapolis on Friday identified Calvin L. Horton Jr., 43, as the victim in a shooting outside a pawnshop that was being looted.

Also on Friday in Detroit, a 21-year-old man was shot to death while sitting in his car near Cadillac Square, as hundreds of protesters swarmed the streets. The police said the gunman may have known and targeted the victim and used the chaos of the demonstrations as a cover.

Early Saturday morning in St. Louis, a man was killed after protesters blocked Interstate 44, set fires and attempted to loot a FedEx truck. The man was killed, the police said, when he became caught between the truck’s two trailers as the driver attempted to wend his way through the protest.

The protest on Los Angeles’s affluent West Side began peacefully on Saturday and stayed that way for nearly three hours. Activists handed out water and food, and a crowd marched on Beverly Boulevard, chanting slogans against police brutality and waving placards.

“I was aiming my next shot, put my camera down for a second, and then my face exploded,” said Linda Tirado, the photojournalist. “I immediately felt blood and was screaming, ‘I’m press! I’m press!’”

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press logged about 10 different incidents that ranged from assaults to menacing in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

“With the unraveling of civil peace around the country, reporters are perceived as a target by both the police and the protesters,” said Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee, “and that is an extremely frightening place to be.”

The intensifying protests came after the authorities announced that the officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground had been arrested and charged with murder on Friday, a development that activists and Mr. Floyd’s family had called for but also said did not go far enough.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, charges that come with a combined maximum sentence of 35 years.

An investigation into the three other officers who were present at the scene remains ongoing.

Mr. Floyd’s relatives have said that had wanted the more serious charge of first-degree murder.

Third-degree murder does not require an intent to kill, according to the Minnesota statute, only that the perpetrator caused someone’s death in a dangerous act “without regard for human life.” Charges of first- and second-degree murder require prosecutors to prove, in almost all cases, that the perpetrator made a decision to kill the victim.

A lawyer for Mr. Chauvin’s wife, Kellie, said that she was devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and expressed sympathy for his family and those grieving his loss. The case has also led Ms. Chauvin to seek a divorce, the lawyer, Amanda Mason-Sekula, said in an interview on Friday night.

Reporting was contributed by Tim Arango, Mike Baker, Peter Baker, Julian E. Barnes, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Audra D.S. Burch, Helene Cooper, Manny Fernandez, Thomas Fuller, Matt Furber, Russell Goldman, Michael M. Grynbaum, Maggie Haberman, Shawn Hubler, Annie Karni, Michael Levenson, Neil MacFarquhar, Patricia Mazzei, Shawn McCreesh, Sarah Mervosh, Jeremy W. Peters, Frances Robles and Rick Rojas. Research was contributed by Jack Begg.



Source link Nytimes.com

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