An initially peaceful demonstration in New York City over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police in Minnesota, spiraled into chaos as night fell Friday, as protesters skirmished with police officers, destroyed police vehicles and set fires.
Even as several videos of clashes between police and protesters went viral, one disturbing video has been going viral on social media. Uploaded by news agency DW on Twitter, the video shows a New York City Police Department truck plowing into a crowd of protesters in the city. The protesters were allegedly attacked after they tried to push through the barriers in front of the car.
A video appears to show two New York City Police Department vehicles lurching into a crowd of protesters who were pushing a barricade against one of the cars. Several people were knocked to the ground. pic.twitter.com/brWCCIBFb5— DW News (@dwnews) May 31, 2020
In Brooklyn, activists who had marched from Manhattan chanted insults at officers lined up outside the Barclays Center and pelted them with water bottles. Police sprayed an eye-irritating chemical into the diverse crowd multiple times, then cleared the plaza.
Video posted to social media showed officers using batons and shoving protesters as they took people into custody and cleared streets. One video showed on officer slam a woman to the ground as he walked past her in the street.
Later in the evening, what had been a tense situation turned worse. Demonstrators rocked a police van, set it ablaze, then scrawled graffiti across its charred hulk and set it on fire a second time as officers retreated from the area. Blocks away, protesters used a club to batter a police cruiser.
At another location near the arena, a shouting mob of protesters, some wearing helmets and carrying makeshift shields, advanced on officers shouting and throwing objects, and police retaliated with batons and arrests, leaving the roadway strewn with debris.
Numerous people were arrested and police brought in buses to take them away.
The demonstrations were held in defiance of a ban on gatherings, imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed thousands of New Yorkers including dozens of members of the NYPD.
Protests around George Floyd’s death have taken place around the country and were not quelled by the news Friday that the Minneapolis officer recorded kneeling on his neck would face criminal charges.