Thousands of New Yorkers have taken to the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan to protest police brutality following the death of George Floyd, leading to over 200 arrests on Friday night and early Saturday morning, Pix11 News reported on May 30.
The protests took a violent turn in the night as demonstrators torched an empty NYPD van in Fort Greene Park at around 9:30 p.m.
Earlier in the day, some 3,000 protesters had converged outside of Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, where they threw water bottles at police officers and chanted, “They’re killing us!”
NYPD officers then beat demonstrators, both violent and non-violent, using batons, and used tear gas on crowds, as depicted in videos that surfaced on social media.
Diana Richardson, a Brooklyn assemblywoman, said she was sprayed with the chemical mace while protesting peacefully at the Brooklyn Nets arena, according to the New York Post.
“This is uncalled for,” Richardson told a reporter. “I would never be in a position to be like this. I’m actually out here to make sure the peace is [kept].”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson took to Twitter to share his outlook on the situation, mainly condemning the NYPD’s actions.
“The NYPD should be easing tensions, not pepper spraying state legislators and shoving peaceful protestors. Tonight was a failure of leadership,” he wrote.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also responded to the incident on Twitter at around 11 p.m. ET.
“We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn. Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe,” he wrote.
The mayor further stated that they would conduct a “full review” of the events that transpired.
The day’s protests began earlier on Friday in Lower Manhattan’s Foley Square, where Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner — who met a fate similar to Floyd’s in 2014 — called for justice in front of thousands.
After giving speeches for several hours, the crowd marched to the NYPD headquarters, located at One Police Plaza.
The protestors then headed to the district attorney’s office, and the city courts, where several arrests were made as they were told by police to stay off the streets, per Pix11.
Anti-police demonstrations have sparked in a number of cities nationwide immediately after Floyd perished while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.
The incident, which was caught on camera by a bystander, showed Floyd on the ground repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” as officer Derek Chauvin knelt over his neck for nearly nine minutes, per The Inquisitr.
Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.