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Fires burned outside the White House, the streets of New York City were gripped by mayhem and stores in Santa Monica, Calif., were looted after another day of peaceful protests descended into lawlessness in major cities across the United States.
On the sixth day of unrest since the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis, hundreds were arrested as streets seethed with unrest. Even as businesses braced for looting, stores were ransacked. In Manhattan, the owners of the upscale Chanel store had boarded up its windows, only to wake on Monday to find that thieves had found their way inside.
The National Guard was deployed in more than two dozen states to assist overwhelmed police departments, and dozens of mayors extended curfews.
The chaos overshadowed what had been a largely peaceful day, with hundreds of thousands across the country joining together in expressions of heartbreak and frustration. From police officers kneeling with protesters to communities coming together to stop looters, many expressed a determination not to let the violence define the narrative.
As the smoke cleared on Monday morning, here is where things stand.
In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the demonstrations, about 200 protesters were arrested after trying to march along an interstate after a curfew began at 8 p.m. The arrests capped a relatively quiet night compared with the chaos of the past several days.
In Louisville, Ky., one man was killed when shots broke out as the authorities cleared a large crowd. The Louisville police chief said that law enforcement was fired upon, and both the police and the National Guard returned fire. Gov. Andy Beshear instructed the Kentucky State Police to investigate.
In California, all state buildings “with offices in downtown city areas” were ordered to close on Monday. There were widespread reports of looting in Santa Monica and Long Beach. One police officer suffered a gunshot wound while on duty in Venice. A news helicopter in Los Angeles recorded a police S.U.V. driving into a group of protesters, knocking two people to the ground.
In Birmingham, Ala., protesters started to tear down a Confederate monument that the city had covered with a tarp amid a lawsuit between the state attorney general and the city.
In Boston, a police S.U.V. was set ablaze near the State House. As reports of more lawlessness came in overnight, Mayor Marty Walsh said he was angered “by the people who came into our city and chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence.” He added, “If we are to achieve change and if we are to lead the change, our efforts must be rooted in peace and regard for our community.”
In Philadelphia, police officers in riot gear and an armored vehicle used pepper spray to repel rioters and looters. A wall of officers blocked an entrance ramp to Interstate 676 in the city, where public transit was suspended starting at 6 p.m. as part of a curfew. In the morning, many business owners were sifting through ransacked stores.
In New York, demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges. The Manhattan Bridge was briefly shut down to car traffic. Sporadic looting was reported across Lower Manhattan. The night before in Union Square, the mayor’s daughter, Chiara de Blasio, 25, was among the protesters arrested, according to a police official.
In Chicago, the police superintendent, David Brown, excoriated looters on Sunday. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he had called up the National Guard after a request from Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “I want to be clear and emphasize: The Guard is here to support our Police Department,” Ms. Lightfoot said. “They will not be actively involved in policing and patrolling.” Public transit to downtown has been suspended indefinitely.
In Portland, Ore., the police clashed with protesters who smashed windows at the federal courthouse. The police deployed tear gas while demonstrators hurled fireworks at officers.
In Iowa, the police said riots had broken out in Davenport, and at least two people were killed and one police officer injured in a series of shootings. The city’s police chief, Paul Sikorski, told a news conference on Monday that dozens of shootings had been reported overnight. He said that around 3 a.m., officers were “ambushed” and one was shot, and that several suspects were in custody.
Salt Lake City
Flames nearly two stories high leapt from trash cans and piles of street debris, sending acrid smoke into the air around Union Square in New York City. Stores in the trendy SoHo neighborhood were targeted for the second night in a row. And across the city, the police clashed with protesters in a city on edge.
More than two months of social distancing and lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic ended for many with defiant protests. And in what has become a pattern across the nation, peaceful demonstrations gave way to destruction.
On Sunday night, thousands of demonstrators fanned across the city. One group crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and another briefly shut down the Manhattan Bridge.
In Union Square, protesters threw bottles and other objects at police officers armed with batons who pushed into crowds on Broadway and nearby side streets.
“You are creating a disturbance,” an officer said over a megaphone as protesters shouted and sirens blared nearby. “If you do not disperse, you will be subject to arrest.”
And all night, sirens screamed across the city, with multiple reports of lootings in Lower Manhattan.
“Unemployment is gasoline, and then abuse of power is the match,” one protester said after looters smashed the windows of a Duane Reade drugstore in Lower Manhattan.
“In the right circumstances, ka-boom. People don’t have anything to lose,” he said. “‘If a guy can get away with murdering a guy, I’m pretty sure I can get away with stealing an iPhone’ is the attitude.”
The White House went dark, turning off almost all of its external lights, as protesters seethed outside.
A curfew, intended to last from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m., did little to dissuade the crowds from clashing violently with riot police officers in Lafayette Square, a small park beside the White House. In addition to a car fire, another blaze occurred in the basement of St. John’s Church, known as the “church of presidents,” where every chief executive going back to James Madison has worshiped.
The darkened White House added to an image of a president under siege. On Friday, Secret Service agents rushed President Trump to an underground bunker that has previously been used during terrorist attacks.
Mr. Trump was largely heard on Twitter, but spurned the advice of his campaign advisers to deliver a nationally televised address and remained out of sight on Sunday. He accused Democrats of not being tough enough on violent protesters and blamed radical leftists for the turmoil roiling the nation.
The president also said his administration would “be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” employing a shorthand for “anti-fascist.” But antifa is a movement of activists who dress in black and call themselves anarchists, not an organization with a clear structure that can be penalized under law. Moreover, U.S. law applies terrorist designations to foreign entities, not domestic groups.
Jack Healy in Denver
The bearded young man was standing amid a sea of protesters on Colfax Avenue, a long gritty commercial strip in central Denver, when the police opened fire. A less-lethal round designed for crowd control hit the side of his face, and he crumpled to the ground.
He was carried to a liquor store’s parking lot, where he lay grimacing in pain. As other protesters wrapped his head in gauze, blood pooled on the asphalt.
The demonstrators weren’t able to carry him back through the front lines, where protesters were hurling fireworks and police were firing off tear gas, and he couldn’t walk. A dozen people crowded around him, calling for help, shouting suggestions, talking past one another.
“We got to get him out of here!”
“They aren’t going to let us bring an ambulance over here.”
After 15 minutes, an ambulance pulled up and loaded the man inside. Police officers stood beside its doors, yelling at protesters to get away as it receded into the night.
Jack Nicas in Oakland, Calif.
Close to downtown, a few hundred protesters peacefully marched through the streets, chanting and carrying signs.
Behind the diverse crowd, Donavon Butler, 33, drove a minivan with his wife and four children inside. His 5-year-old son, Chase, hung out the back window with his right fist raised and his left hand holding a cardboard sign that said, “Mama! I can’t breathe. Don’t shoot.”
“The world we live in is not equal. People look at us different,” Mr. Butler said he had told his son.
Mike Baker in Seattle
For an hour, hundreds of demonstrators marching through Seattle streets had been stuck at an intersection in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, unable to pass a line of police officers who were telling them to comply with a curfew already three hours old.
The day before, protests had spun into mayhem, with dozens of downtown storefronts smashed and many looted. But on Sunday, protesters moved through streets with little issue, at times kneeling before police blockades to show that the chanting crowds were not there to engage in conflict.
At 8:10 p.m., the officers and a protest leader had an announcement: Things had gone so peacefully that the police were willing to let them back to the epicenter of Saturday’s chaos. The protesters cheered and marched onward.
“See how much easier this is,” one person shouted at the officers.
Rashyla Levitt addressed the crowd through a megaphone, telling them the group had made history. “We marched for justice. We marched for peace,” she said. “We marched for each other. We marched for our streets.”
Others weren’t ready to end the night. They approached a line of officers in riot gear, shouting and cursing. Some protesters — including Elijah Alter, 24 — rushed to intervene, pushing them away from the line of officers.
“Because of our solidarity, we made them change their mind,” he said. “Do not ruin it on a violent end.”
Richard Fausset in Atlanta
The demonstrators stopped — hundreds of them, black and white — and sat. A self-appointed leader among them, an entrepreneur named John Wade, praised them for their nonviolence. But he warned them not to keep marching up the hill. The police were up there fighting it out, he said, with “noncompliant people.”
Organizers told everyone to turn off Centennial Olympic Park Drive and veer away from the trouble. A police officer told them not to walk forward.
Then the tear gas started.
People chanted the way they do at Atlanta ball games, riffing on the song “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye).”
“We ready, we ready, we ready, for y’all,” they sang.
Derek Chauvin, the fired police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, was transferred on Sunday to Minnesota’s most secure prison, where he is expected to await his arraignment in a 7-by 10-foot concrete cell and be under near constant surveillance.
Mr. Chauvin, a veteran officer of the Minneapolis City Police, was seen on video pressing his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest on Memorial Day.
Mr. Floyd’s death has set off a week of protests over police brutality across the country. Mr. Chauvin was charged on Friday with third-degree murder, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.
Mr. Chauvin is s scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on June 8, according to the Hennepin County website.
Also on Sunday, Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said the state’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, would take the lead in prosecuting Mr. Chauvin.
At 12:36 a.m. as Monday broke, Andy Horng was clutching a samurai sword outside the Lake & Park corner grocery store, writes Dionne Searcey in Minneapolis.
Across the street, smoke billowed from a Mexican restaurant that had been set aflame during protests on Friday. On Sunday around 10:30 p.m. the building’s basement had somehow reignited.
After several calls to 911 were met with busy signals, he and several others rushed inside to tackle the fire, rigging hoses from the truck of a nearby contractor until the fire department arrived.
“I live next door,” Mr. Horng said of the grocery store, which he and two other men were guarding. “I have to protect it.”
Elsewhere in the city, at 11:22 p.m. three people stood behind their bicycles near a memorial to George Floyd at the site where he died last week. Their aim, they said, was to keep troublemakers away as protesters milled and occasionally chanted nearby.
A man with a protest sign under his arm approached. “Friend of Floyd’s?” a self-appointed guard asked him. “Yes, yes,” he said, and was allowed to pass. Next, two women came forward. “Are there medics here?” they asked. “By the snack table,” the guard said as he allowed them to pass.
Not long before, near the site where Mr. Floyd died, the smell of lilac bushes was replaced with cigarette smoke near makeshift memorials where protesters mingled. Red stoplights were blinking on each corner of an intersection.
A man grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed it as he shooed people from walking on the names of black victims of police misconduct that someone had written in huge chalk letters on the street. Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and a dozen others.
Earlier in the night, at 9:23 p.m. protesters seemed weary at the site where Mr. Floyd died. Several wandered through the crowd with selfie sticks, filming themselves describing what they saw.
As a helicopter circled, a man looked up and yelled, “No justice, no peace!”
Dalfanzo Credit, 31, stood smoking a cigarillo. “It could have been me,” he said.
Amid the rush to assign blame for the violence and vandalism breaking out in U.S. cities, accusations that extremists or other outside agitators are behind the destruction continue to ricochet online and on the airwaves.
Political leaders including President Trump have accused various groups, saying that a radical agenda is transforming once peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“We have reason to believe that bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests of George Floyd’s murder, which is why we are extending the curfew by one day,” Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota tweeted on Sunday, after previously suggesting that white supremacists or people from outside the state were fomenting the unrest.
In New York City, a senior police official said anarchists had planned to cause mayhem in the city even before the protests started, using encrypted communication to raise bail money and recruit medics.
Still, few of those pointing the finger at extremists presented much detailed evidence to support the accusations, and some officials conceded the lack of solid information.
Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general and a former Democratic congressman from Minneapolis, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it would all have to be investigated.
“The truth is, nobody really knows,” he said.
In many parts of the world, the death of yet another black man at the hands of the police in the United States is setting off protests against police brutality and reviving concerns that America is abandoning its traditional role as a defender of human rights.
And for America’s rivals, the tensions have provided an opportunity to deflect attention from their own problems.
In China, the state-run news media heavily featured reports about Mr. Floyd’s death and portrayed the protests as another sign of America’s decline. When a U.S. official on Saturday attacked the ruling Communist Party on Twitter for moving to impose national security legislation to quash dissent in Hong Kong, a spokeswoman for the Chinese government fired back with a popular refrain among protesters in the United States.
“‘I can’t breathe,’” the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, wrote on Twitter.
In Iran, Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, accused America of hypocrisy. He posted a doctored screenshot of a 2018 statement by U.S. officials condemning Iran for corruption and injustice.
In his version, the references to Iran were replaced with America.
“Some don’t think #BlackLivesMatter,” Mr. Zarif wrote on Twitter.
The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by police officers turned fatal.
Reporting was contributed by John Eligon, Richard Fausset, Tess Felder, Matt Furber, Russell Goldman, Jack Healy, Javier C. Hernández, Neil MacFarquhar, Benjamin Mueller, Jack Nicas, Elian Peltier, Marc Santora and Dionne Searcey.
Source: NY times