The streets of American cities filled with protesters, looters and violence against and by police late Monday, the seventh day of unrest after the police killing of George Floyd.
The mix of events do not make for easy summary. Across the country, large gatherings of protesters channeled their anger and frustration into marches and calls to stop police violence against black people. Some used that anger and frustration to break into stores and loot.
There were moments of unity amid the chaos: Some police chiefs and officers listened to protesters’ issues and knelt in shows of solidarity.
By the end of the night, several officers were struck by gunfire and by vehicles, and many more people were arrested. And the protests showed no signs of letting up in the days to come as cities instituted stricter curfews to deal with a fury that has been festering for years.
“Our cities are boiling over because people are in pain,” Louisville Urban League President Sadiqa Reynolds said. “It’s about years and years and years of a lack of access to justice. It’s a lack of accountability on the part of the police departments. It’s about the good officers not calling out the bad ones.”
“We’re tired of being scared,” said 19-year-old Rayven Koha-Jallah, who marched from the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, to the state Capitol on Monday night.
“We’re tired of hiding away who we really are because we don’t want to offend ‘Karen’ down the road so she doesn’t call the police on us,” she added, using the slang term for a casually racist, privileged white woman.
There were about 700 arrests in New York City on Monday night for looting and other offenses, including attacks on officers, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will be under an 8 p.m. curfew for the rest of the week.
“We will not tolerate violence of any kind. We will not tolerate attacks on police officers. We will not tolerate hatred being created,” de Blasio said.
The violence Monday night unfolded despite the Floyd family’s plea for peaceful protests earlier in the day.
Floyd, 46, died last week after after a now-fired Minneapolis officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, according to a prosecutor’s statement of probable cause. His final words included “Mama” and “I can’t breathe.”
Three other officers who responded to the scene, two of whom helped restrain Floyd, were fired by the police chief, who said they were “complicit” in his death. They have not been charged with wrongdoing despite calls from the Floyd family and protesters.
On Monday, two different autopsies found that Floyd’s death was a homicide. A public memorial service will be held for Floyd in Minneapolis on Thursday, according to a statement from National Action Network.
Officers shot and hit by vehicles
Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, spoke to those gathered in support of his brother Monday, delivering a simple message for those committing violence.
“He would not want y’all to be doing this,” he said.
Not everyone got the message. In St. Louis, four officers were struck by gunfire during protests. Their injuries are non-life-threatening, Chief John Hayden Jr. said.
Las Vegas police are investigating two officer-involved shootings overnight, one in which an officer was shot, police told CNN affiliate KVVU-TV.
In Buffalo, New York, three law enforcement officers clearing the scene of a protest were injured when an SUV drove through a police blockade, New York State police said in a news release.
One of the more serious incidents happened in New York City, where a sergeant was hit by a car with such force that the officer flipped sideways in the air. The officer is in serious but stable condition with leg and head injuries, NYPD Lt. Thomas Antonetti said. The driver fled the scene.
Late Monday night, some looters in midtown Manhattan appeared to be remarkably organized at times, CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz said.
“They would go to stores. They would break the windows. You know, they would use hammers. They would run off. And then, others would come. And then, repeatedly come back,” he said.
The starkest clashes came when President Donald Trump turned the country’s security forces on peaceful demonstrators in front of the White House. Peaceful protesters were pushed back so that the president could be photographed in front of a historic church.
He also threatened to deploy the military against the protests across the country, but state leaders have rejected his hard-line stance.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican and frequent critic of the president, said that while he should have been surprised at the hardline message from the White House, he wasn’t.
“At so many times during these past several weeks when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found,” he said.
2 autopsies find Floyd died by homicide, but differ on key details
While government leaders debate how to approach protests sparked by Floyd’s death, two different autopsies are at odds over the details of his death.
Both the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s report and an independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family concluded his death was a homicide. But they differ in their account of how it happened.
Video from last week shows Floyd being arrested by four officers. Three held him to the ground, with one officer, Derek Chauvin, seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck as he said that he couldn’t breathe.
The independent autopsy said that Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” which cut off blood flow to his brain. But the medical examiner did not mention asphyxiation.
The county release said it found “no physical findings” of asphyxiation, but that the death was a result of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” The county said heart disease and drugs were among “significant conditions” to the death but did not describe the level of drugs in Floyd’s system.
Dr. Michael Baden, one of the independent medical examiners, said “there is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death.”
‘We plan to hold everyone accountable’
Chauvin has already been arrested in Floyd’s death, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday that more action may soon follow.
All four Minneapolis officers on the scene of Floyd’s death have been fired, but only Chauvin has had charges brought against him. But amid calls for all the officers who saw the incident but did not intervene to face justice, Ellison said he is looking into actions against them.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and was initially expected in court Monday, but his appearance has been rescheduled for June 8, the day before Floyd’s funeral.
Though he cannot ethically comment further on possible prosecution, Ellison said Monday he spent the 24 hours prior reviewing evidence.
“We are looking very carefully at holding everybody accountable who failed to do their duty and fell below the legal requirements of their position or did something affirmatively that would be in violation of the law,” Ellison said.
“When we are ready, and that won’t be long from now, we plan on taking the proper and deliberate action,” he said.