More than 4,000 people were arrested over the weekend as thousands took to the streets in protest of the violent killing of George Floyd, who was unarmed when a white cop kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, according to The Associated Press.
Although there was no shortage of people taking advantage of the moment to loot and recklessly destroy mom and pop businesses in many cities, by several accounts, it was police officers and other law enforcement officials who fueled violence, often targeting journalists.
In Washington, D.C., protests Sunday remained nonviolent until nightfall, when protesters were met with rubber bullets and tear gas outside of the White House. “Much like Saturday night, the worst violence didn’t erupt until police pushed demonstrators out of Lafayette Square and into the city’s streets,” The Washington Post reported.
WARNING: This video contains profanity.
Elizabeth Ferris, a public policy student at Georgetown University, filmed the chaotic scene in Washington, D.C., and poured water in the eyes of a protester affected by police tear gas, The Washington Post reported.
“I took six rubber bullets, but do you know what didn’t happen to me?” Ferris asked the newspaper. “No one kneeled on my neck.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser deployed the D.C. National Guard Sunday. Police in the District of Columbia arrested 17 people Saturday and 18 people Sunday, which pales in comparison to cities such as Minneapolis, which had nearly 500 people arrested since Friday, according to local news station KSTP. In Minneapolis—the city where Floyd was killed—law enforcement officers seemed to recklessly target anyone outside, from reporters to people protesting peacefully. About 150 people were arrested for curfew violations, KSTP reported.
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In Atlanta, 64 people were arrested in protests Sunday. Two cops shown in viral video pulling a college student and a recent graduate out of their car Saturday night were soon fired, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told Channel 2 Action News Sunday. Taniyah Pilgram, who attends Spelman College, and Messiah Young, a recent graduate of Morehouse College, were arrested and later released from custody, the news station reported.
“Our officers are working very long hours are under a very high amount of stress, but the use of force is never acceptable,” Bottoms said.
In New York City, a police officer shown in viral video pointing a gun at protesters in Manhattan Sunday night will be stripped of his gun and badge, CNN reported. An internal investigation is also underway.
New York Daily News reporter Noah Goldberg was hit with a baton while filming protests in New York. A police officer can be heard in Goldberg’s video yelling “back up.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh shared his account of violence from New York Police Department officers on Twitter Sunday night. "Lost my glasses and my ankle is in searing pain after NYPD hit me in the face multiple times with riot shields and pushed me to the ground. I was backing away as request, with my hands up. My NYPD-issued press badge was clearly visible. I’m just sitting here crying. This sucks," he tweeted.
Andrea May Sahouri, a reporter with The Des Moines Register, said in video she shared on Twitter that her boyfriend was hit by a tear gas canister and she was pepper sprayed, placed in zip ties, and held in the back of a police vehicle. She was later released, the reporter tweeted.
British photographer Adam Gray was thrown to the ground and arrested in New York after showing his press pass, fellow journalist Roy Greenslade tweeted. "The whole time that I was being arrested...I said I was press. They just didn't seem to care,” Gray said in the tweet. “I get that in the heat of the moment you might get pushed or grabbed, but as soon as you say that you're press, it normally stops there but not this time."
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, a reporter who covered protests in Long Beach Sunday, said on Twitter he was hit in the throat by a rubber bullet. "OK, that's one way to stop me, for a while," he said.