Fires and Fury: Peaceful Protests Devolve Into Another Night of Chaos in NYC

AM New York - May 31, 2020

by ROBERT POZARYCKI AND MARK HALLUM

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Saturday’s protests over the George Floyd police-involved killing in Minneapolis earlier this week descended into chaos again in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Demonstrators have set fires across locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, vandalized police vehicles and businesses along the way. Hundreds remain out in the streets. There have been numerous clashes between individuals and cops along the way.

These events happened on the same day Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea condemned the chaos outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn the night before, Friday, and acknowledged that “we have much more to do” in changing policing. State Attorney General Letitia James was also appointed Saturday to conduct a review into the May 29 events.

The May 30 protests began with relative trouble. But just like Friday, as the sun went down, the tension rose — and with it, the disorder.

Burning rubber from two police vans burning – and exploding – south of Union Square caused a rare kind of obstruction of the view of the Empire State Building Saturday night.

Protesters cheered as sparks flew up while others took a sledge hammer to the windows of the Santander Bank at the corner of the 13th Street and Broadway.

Up to 20 arrests would follow between 11th and 14th Streets before over 200 police in riot gear pushed demonstrators up Broadway, taking some to the ground with batons and plastic cuffs.

By the end of it, one man was pouring milk over his face after police used either tear gas or pepper spray. Then he vomited.

The NYPD commandeered two buses to haul away protesters arrested at the corner of East First Street and Bowery. Sources say as many as 16 were taken into custody there.

The trouble also continues on the other side of the river in Brooklyn, in areas not too far from Barclays Center, the site of Friday night’s chaotic protest.

Video surfaced on Twitter showing a police vehicle slowly driving through a crowd of people that attempted to stop it at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and St. Mark’s Avenue.

There were additional reports of bedlam near the corner of Bedford and Church Avenues, where people have been throwing bottles and bricks, and set various fires. Police have reportedly surrounded the immediate area.