‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

A protester and a Philadelphia Police officer look at each other during a Justice for George Floyd rally at the MSB on Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Philadelphia. Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
People react during a rally Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, May 25. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
People gather for a rally Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, May 25. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A Pittsburgh Police vehicle burns during a during a march in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 30, 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, May 25. Saturday, May 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
People react during a rally Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Americans awoke Sunday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Tens of thousands marched peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. But many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Cars and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings. The damaged buildings include many near the White House.

The scale of the protests, extending to nearly every part of the country and unfolding on a single night, seemed to rival the historic demonstrations of the civil rights and Vietnam eras. And by Sunday morning, the outrage had spread to Europe, where thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square. Despite government rules barring crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrators clapped and waved placards as they offered support to U.S. demonstrators.

“We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington, D.C. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.”

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

People set fire to squad cars, threw bottles at officers and busted windows of storefronts. They carried away TVs and other items even as some protesters urged them to stop. In Indianapolis, multiple shootings were reported, including one that left a person dead amid the protests, adding to deaths in Detroit and Minneapolis in recent days.

In Minneapolis, the city where the protests began, police, state troopers and National Guard members moved in soon after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect to break up the demonstrations.

President Donald Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics Saturday night, commending the National Guard deployment in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and saying police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the violence as he continued to express common cause with those demonstrating after Floyd’s death.

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” Biden said in a late-night statement.

On Sunday, maintenance crews near the White House worked to replace windows that had been completely shattered with large pieces of wood. Buildings for blocks were marked with graffiti, including curses about Trump and anti-police sentiments. Shattered glass still covered the sidewalks. The damaged buildings included the Department of Veterans Affairs, directly across the street from the White House.

Cleanup soon began in cities across the country. In Madison, Wisconsin, hundreds of volunteers gathered to pick up after the violence that included setting a police squad car on fire, stealing from businesses and breaking windows at dozens of stores and an art museum.

Few corners of America were untouched, from protesters setting fires inside Reno’s city hall, to police launching tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators in Fargo, North Dakota. In Salt Lake City, demonstrators flipped a police car and lit it on fire. Police said six people were arrested and an officer was injured after being struck in the head with a baseball bat.

Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle.

At least 13 police officers were injured in Philadelphia , and at least four police vehicles were set on fire. In New York City, dangerous confrontations flared repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Several people were knocked to the ground. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.

“The mistakes that are happening are not mistakes. They’re repeated violent terrorist offences, and people need to stop killing black people,” Brooklyn protester Meryl Makielski said.

READ MORE: Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops to Athens, Savannah and any other cities where more demonstrations were planned Sunday. Kemp had already approved up to 1,500 Guardsmen to help enforce a 9 p.m. Saturday curfew in Atlanta.

“The protesters need to know we’re going to support their efforts in a peaceful, nonviolent protest,” the Republican told television station WSB late Saturday. “The agitators need to know that we’ll be there … to take them to jail if they’re destroying lives and property.”

In Virginia’s capital city, graffiti invoking Floyd or directing slurs at the police dotted downtown, including many of Richmond’s some prominent Confederate monuments. At the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which news outlets reported was vandalized and set ablaze, a few men with long guns were among a small crowd gathered outside. One man said they were there to protect the building.

In Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014, sparking a wave of protests throughout the country, six officers were hurt after being hit with rocks and fireworks.

Police have arrested nearly 1,700 people in 22 cities since Thursday, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Nearly a third of those arrests came in Los Angeles, where the governor declared a state of emergency and ordered the National Guard to back up the city’s 10,000 police officers as dozens of fires burned across the city.

This week’s unrest recalled the riots in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago after the acquittal of the white police officers who beat Rodney King, a black motorist who had led them on a high-speed chase. The protests of Floyd’s killing have gripped many more cities, but the losses in Minneapolis have yet to approach the staggering totals Los Angeles saw during five days of rioting in 1992, when more than 60 people died, 2,000-plus were injured and thousands arrested, with property damage topping $1 billion.

But not all protests were marred by violence. In Juneau, Alaska, local police joined protesters at a rally in front of a giant whale sculpture on the city’s waterfront.

“We don’t tolerate excessive use of force,” Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer told a gathering where most people wore masks and some sang Alaska Native songs.

The show of force in Minneapolis came after three days in which police largely avoided engaging protesters, and after the state poured more than 4,000 National Guard troops into Minneapolis. Authorities said that number would soon rise to nearly 11,000.

“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” said Gov. Tim Walz, who also said local forces had been overmatched the previous day. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

Some residents were glad to see the upheaval dissipating.

“l live here. I haven’t been able to sleep,” said Iman Muhammad, whose neighbourhood saw multiple fires set Friday night. Muhammad said she sympathized with peaceful protests over Floyd’s death but disagreed with the violence: “Wrong doesn’t answer wrong.”

___

Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report.

Tim Sullivan And Stephen Groves, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

racismUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were present on Oct. 22 to officially open the expanded Summerland landfill facility. From left are manager of environmental services Candace Pilling, Coun. Erin Carlson, Coun. Marty Van Alphen, acting mayor Doug Holmes, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Coun. Erin Trainer. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Changes made to entrance of Summerland landfill

Upgrades came at cost of $500,000

A truck and trailer left Reservoir Road north of Penticton earlier on Oct. 23. (Facebook)
UPDATE: Highway 3 closed east of Osoyoos

Police have re-opened Highway 33 at Idabel Lake

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read