Protests show no sign of fading more than a week after the death of George Floyd
Americans continue to hit the more than a week after the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, a shocking incident caught on video that has reanimated a nation paralyzed by a pandemic.
Demonstrations that began in Minneapolis on May 26 spread across the nation over the following nights and, on Tuesday, found mass appeal for the fourth straight day in Lafayette Square in Washington, where protesters stayed past a 7 p.m. curfew.
Some of those in the park said they were taking to the streets for the first time, motivated by President Donald Trump’s walk to a nearby church Monday that was preceded with tear gas and flash bangs used to clear out dissenters.
A group of hundreds if not thousands marching in the area near the White House chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and “We want change.”
Demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial were met with security forces in military-style uniforms.
New York City also saw people new to the demonstrations hit the streets.
Bronx resident April Gopie said she saw fires Monday from her apartment window and was compelled to join the fray Tuesday.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” she said. “I’m just hoping that the same people that are here now are gonna ride with us to the end because this doesn’t make me any less worried about my brothers and sisters.”
Sections of Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal were boarded up Tuesday as shops and restaurants closed and only passengers were allowed to be there.
After night fell, the Empire State Building went dark “to recognize injustice in all its forms and all its victims, and to urge an end to the damage to our great city and its people,” its owners said in a statement.
Demonstrators marched on the Manhattan Bridge that leads to Brooklyn.
Brina Jeffries, a recent graduate of New York University, said it’s important for white people to stand up for justice for African Americans.
“They can also use their White privilege to stand in front of a black person when something happens,” she said. “I feel comfortable being out here.”
Fellow NYU alumnus Annabel Iwegbue, said she’s been impressed by the show of support for Floyd.
“Washington Square Park was essentially my campus, and I’ve never seen so many people there — that includes the protests after Trump was elected,” she said. “I thought that was beautiful. It’s the culmination of anger, frustration, violence and brutality.”
At Minneapolis City Hall, the mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, broke down crying during an emotional plea for justice.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” Roxie Washington said, her voice breaking, while she stood with her daughter. “At the end of the day they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father.”
Washington was referring to Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, charged with third-degree murder, and three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, who stood by as he pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck even as the victim said, “I can’t breathe.”
All four were immediately fired, but there are growing calls for Lane, Thao and Kueng to be charged in the case, as well.
“He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle,” Washington said of Floyd and their daughter. “I want justice for him because he was good,” she said, adding that Floyd was a good father.
“He loved her, he loved her so much,” she said.
A group of demonstrators once again gathered past the state-mandated curfew of 10 p.m. at the Minneapolis intersection where Floyd was killed more than a week ago.
“One nation, one love,” a protester said into a microphone. “America where is your compassion for us? Where is your compassion for human rights?”
A small group of people climbed to the top of a boarded-up Speedway convenience store nearby and watched the demonstration below.
A makeshift memorial included dozens of bouquets of flowers, candles and signs that altogether formed a circle. A small group of demonstrators silently paid their respects.
In Boston on Tuesday, protesters held a “die-in” by lying down in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the time Chauvin had his knee to Floyd’s neck on May 25 after police responded to a report of someone trying to use counterfeit money at a market.
In Los Angeles County on Tuesday, demonstrators marched through Beverly Hills and occupied the streets of Hollywood. In Manhattan Beach, California they marched along a boardwalk lined with multimillion-dollar homes, chanting, “Martial law is wrong,” and carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs.
Protesters also gathered outside the residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti in the Windsor Square community. Garcetti said he joined demonstrators earlier downtown. “I hear you on the street loud and clear,” he said.
In Charlotte, North Carolina protesters gathered for the fifth straight day. Hundreds took a knee as a gesture against police violence against African Americans. Police later said some people were throwing bottles at officers.
More than 1,000 people marched from City Hall to police headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Protests were also held in Chicago, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, among other cities.
Curfews in places like Los Angeles and Minneapolis don’t seem to have quelled the action. But some participants are thinking about what will happen when the demonstrations fade.
“Once this dies down, then we need to think about what’s next because the people killed by police are not just names and hashtags,” said Gopie of the Bronx. “That was somebody’s son, daughter, cousin, aunt or uncle — that could be me.”