MINNEAPOLIS – Protests flared late into the night in many cities in the United States over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died this week after being pinned down by the neck by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
The sometimes violent demonstrations hit cities from New York to Atlanta in a tide of anger over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer shown in video footage pinning Floyd down on the street with his knee, was charged with murder in the case on Friday.
Chauvin, who was dismissed from the police with three fellow officers the day after Monday’s fatal encounter, was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges for his role in the death of Floyd, 46.
In Detroit, a 19-year-old man protesting in the city was shot dead on Friday night by a suspect who pulled up to demonstrators in a sport utility vehicle and fired gunshots into the crowd, then fled, the Detroit Free Press and other local media reported. Police could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hundreds in the city had joined a “March Against Police Brutality” late in the afternoon outside the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.
Many chanted, “No justice, no peace.” Some carried signs that read, “End police brutality” and “I won’t stop yelling until everyone can breathe.”
Thousands of chanting protesters filled the streets of New York City’s Brooklyn borough near the Barclays Center indoor arena. Police armed with batons and pepper spray made scores of arrests in sometimes violent clashes.
In lower Manhattan, demonstrators at a “We can’t breathe” vigil and rally were pressing for legislation outlawing the police “chokehold” used by a city police officer in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was also black.
In Washington, police and Secret Service agents were out in force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators gathered across the street in Lafayette Square chanting,”I can’t breathe.”
The protests erupted and spread around the country this week after video footage taken by an onlooker’s cell phone was widely circulated on the internet. It shows Floyd gasping for air and repeatedly groaning, “Please, I can’t breathe,” while a crowd of bystanders shouted at police to let him up.
The video reignited rage that civil rights activists said has long simmered in Minneapolis and cities across the country over persistent racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system. (Reuters)