Demonstrations against the culture of racism and brutality that defines U.S. policing spread across the country Thursday evening in response to the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by officers from the Minneapolis Police Department.
From New York to Memphis to Oakland, protesters and police departments in city after city faced off, sometimes violently.
Video from Manhattan’s Union Square shows police attacking a protester, with one officer breaking his baton while beating a demonstrator.
Photographer Dee Delgado, who was on the scene, told Gothamist that he had seen seven or eight arrests and that clashes between police and demonstrators continued “flaring up.”
“I just witnessed an officer put his knee on somebody’s neck,” said Delgado.
HE BROKE HIS STICK ON A PERSON
ARE YOU SEEING THIS?!
to the cops at union square: WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!pic.twitter.com/QGmlWngLn2
— venus ✺ (@merrikate_) May 28, 2020
In Columbus, Ohio demonstrators breached the state house before being attacked by police wielding tear gas.
So Columbus going crazy right now pic.twitter.com/01K7BJ2NaD
— gavin mounts (@gtmounts) May 29, 2020
protesters almost just breached the Ohio Capitol and now cops are rushing to protect it https://t.co/EK1UvGuHEB
— Quibi.com/Joe_Biden (@lib_crusher) May 29, 2020
Columbus PD gassing protesters. pic.twitter.com/vdLt6doRUJ
— Moonfire (@SUNRlVER) May 29, 2020
Police in Phoenix fired rubber bullets into a crowd of demonstrators outside of police headquarters. Demonstrators also marched on city hall and the state capitol.
“Things got a little rough there towards the end,” demonstration organizer Jarrett Maupin told the Arizona Republic. “The Capitol was our end game and we made it there. Our event was nonviolent.”
On west side of Police headquarters at least a hundred people still gathered despite order to disperse. pic.twitter.com/nqBvA5GJVZ
— Patrick Breen 📸🌵 (@pjbreenphoto) May 29, 2020
Things are escalating as police continue to fire what I’m assuming are rubber bullets at protesters. pic.twitter.com/K5CkGgCL5A
— Uriel J. García 🌵 (@ujohnnyg) May 29, 2020
Shots rang out in Denver as protesters blocked traffic in the city, though no injuries were reported, as police and protesters faced off throughout the night.
Shits gotten real folks. Cops pointing tear gas launchers point blank at protesters. Clashes between cop lines and protesters. Riot cops ran away pic.twitter.com/jZOaW7DDZr
— Rocky Mountain Youth Liberation Front (@RM_YLF) May 29, 2020
Downtown Denver 05/28/20 pic.twitter.com/lGzwjPOidO
— 📡 (@bigTimeStonk) May 29, 2020
State Rep. Leslise Herod told the New York Times that shots were fired at the protest as demonstrators were gathered peacefully.
“This was a completely peaceful rally and someone shot into the crowd and at folks who were protesting in support of the black community and against police brutality,” said Herod.
An unidentified woman driving a black SUV rammed her car at Denver protesters in a separate, earlier incident.
— Anabel (@bellers03) May 29, 2020
Louisville, Kentucky protesters were also protesting against their city’s police department’s killing of an unarmed black woman, Breonna Taylor, on March 13. Demonstrators filled the streets and began shaking a police prisoner convoy truck—slashing its tires and breaking its windows—before shots were fired at the crowd.
Seven people were reportedly wounded, though nobody was killed.
It SOUNDED like shots were fired. Occurred right after protesters tried to flip a prisoner transport vehicle pic.twitter.com/86MPG8ilrR
— Jason Riley (@JasonRileyWDRB) May 29, 2020
The LMPD are racist murderers just like every other US police department, and the people of Louisville are done! Justice for Breonna Taylor! pic.twitter.com/YCgvTi5U0B
— R🌾 (@cuntuckydyke) May 29, 2020
Demonstrations also took place in Memphis, Fontana, California, and Albuquerque, and other cities.
— Michigan City Ninja (@TerranceM_Smith) May 29, 2020
— INLANDNEWS (@INLANDNEWS) May 29, 2020
— Fashopposite 505 (@fashopposite) May 29, 2020
In Los Angeles, protesters assembled across the city, including in front of police headquarters, to express their anger and frustration over Floyd’s killing.
Black Lives Matter protest in Downtown Los Angeles tonight against the murder of George Floyd pic.twitter.com/rUlVtO8dOt
— Tim (@timjroyal) May 28, 2020
Protesters filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles for the second evening in a row Thursday, with demonstrators gathering outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters over the killing of George Floyd.https://t.co/kNmSP670nk
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 29, 2020
“When people look to these individuals who are frustrated, who are angry, for not just Mr. Floyd but countless others for whom there was no video evidence, as there was in this case, who lost their lives—that is what you are seeing bubble up,” CBS News reporter Vladimir Duthiers said Thursday.
City mayors and local and state officials urged demonstrators to protest peacefully, but the tense situations—and police responses to the protests—led to violence in a number of cities.
Phoenix demonstrator Jordan Walker bemoaned the fact that authorities have so little interest in addressing police culture that the only way for the people to demand change is to turn out en masse in the street.
“We shouldn’t have to do this in order to be heard,” said Walker. “We shouldn’t have to do this in order for justice to be made.”