The black Democrat mayors for Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Georgia, have both pleaded for an end to violent demonstrations as the shocking extent of the damage to cities across America is laid bare.
Mayors pleaded on Sunday that protesters don’t ‘destroy our cities’ as rioters took to the streets in cities across America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, both Democratic black women, said while they support Americans’ right to protest, they wish it was not at the expense of the safety of their community.
‘We’re sending a very clear message to people that they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but not to destroy our city,’ Bowser told NBC’s Chuck Todd in a joint interview with Lance Bottoms on Sunday morning.
‘So we saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening,’ she continued. ‘Our crews are out right now cleaning up our city, and we are working with all of our law enforcement partners to ensure calm in our city.’
Bowser’s comments came as rioters took to the streets in DC over the weekend, clashing with law enforcement all over the city – and even in front of the White House.
Lance Bottoms told Meet the Press that 157 people were arrested in Atlanta.
She admitted that ‘there are no easy answers’ to how to respond to Floyd’s death or race relations between black people and cops, but agreed with Boswer in asserting that ‘the solution is not to destroy our cities.’
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George Floyd’s killing reignited tensions between law enforcement and the black community in the US causing unrest across the country (protests in major cities depicted)
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (right) and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (left) pleaded Sunday morning that rioters stop ‘destroying our cities’ as they protest the death of George Floyd
Protests have escalated across the country all week after video emerged of George Floyd being killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The cellphone video footage showed that Floyd was handcuffed as four police officers pinned him down.
Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old white cop who has since been arrested, is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes as the victim repeatedly said he could not breathe.
Chauvin was taken into custody on Friday after protesters called for him to be arrested – and he was charged with third-degree murder.
Floyd’s family, as well as protesters, are calling for the three other officers involved in the arrest – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – to be charged, too.
In Washington, DC, the National Guard was activated as almost 1,000 protesters surrounded the White House Saturday night and squared off with Secret Service agents, DC police and United States Park Police.
Law enforcement struck protesters with batons and sprayed pepper spray into the crowds as demonstrators responded by hurling fireworks and bottles at the officers.
Clashes broke out between the crowds and Secret Service agents as they surrounded the president’s residence and at least three Secret Service vehicles were seen with their windows smashed and profanities scrawled on the side of them in graffiti.
On Sunday morning, demonstrators took to the streets again, protesting Floyd’s death outside an entrance to the White House.
Washington, DC: A worker cleans up debris from broken glass doors of a Michael Kors store in Washington’s Georgetown district on Sunday morning
Washington, DC: Damaged windows are seen at a restaurant near the White House which was vandalized during overnight protests and rioting amidst nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd
Washington, DC: A cyclist stands in front of a damaged office building near the White House on Sunday
Washington, DC: The shattered window of LEBTAV Lebanese Restaurant is seen in DC on Sunday, the morning after protests over the death of George Floyd
Protesters demonstrate outside an entrance to the White House on Sunday morning
In addition to DC, a total of 11 states have activated the National Guard as law enforcement buckled under the strain of the protests.
States calling for Guard assistance included California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington state.
Meanwhile at least 25 cities rolled out emergency curfews to try to bring rioting and looting under control, including San Francisco, Atlanta, Louisville, Los Angeles, Portland, Columbia, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Seattle.
President Trump has put the Army on notice to deploy to the streets with a four-hour notice – the first time this will have been done in almost 20 years during the 1992 LA riots over the beating of Rodney King by cops.
The White House went on emergency lockdown, as the president was inside during the protests, and a demonstrator tried to scale the fence in Lafayette Park to get inside.
The man was manhandled by Secret Service, removed from the park and taken into custody at the Treasury Annex.
Atlanta also had its fair share of rioters descend on the city in the last few days, but Lance Bottoms said that while the scene in the city was ‘a bit more calm last night’ than previous days, it ‘wasn’t perfect’.
‘People were still out protesting by and large peacefully. We had a curfew last night, a 9 o’clock curfew.
‘We ended up arresting around 157 people last night,’ she said. ‘So, we know the frustration is still there and all of the issues and all of the concerns and anger that were there on Friday haven’t gone away.’
She also admitted that a lot of those who showed up to protest, riot and demonstrate were not from the Atlanta area.
Atlanta, Georgia: Violent protests broke out in cities (Atlanta pictured) all over the country after a video of Floyd being killed by a white police officer during an arrest emerged last week
As part of the chaos in Atlanta Saturday, a cop suffered ‘significant injuries’ after they were hit by someone driving an ATV during protests – the driver was taken into custody.
Around 3,000 National Guardsmen and women were activated in Georgia after the Republican governor, Brian Kemp, signed an executive order Saturday night.
National Guard soldiers were seen creating a barrier outside the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta while fireworks rained down on police officers in some parts of the city.
Friday was even more chaotic in Atlanta, when demonstrators stormed and destroyed the CNN headquarters and fired a smoke bomb at cops trying to form a barrier to keep them out.
Businesses were burned to the ground in Minneapolis during Saturday night’s protests.
Images show volunteers digging and searching through debris of businesses along East Lake Street on Sunday for possible charred remains of rumored victims trapped in the building.
The Minnesota National Guard announced at around 10.30pm Saturday night that it was sending 10,800 troops in to tackle protests.
State police officers were seen in their masses surrounding the fifth police precinct Saturday night after officials insisted that the city would be brought under control following four nights of widespread destruction including a suspected looter being shot dead, businesses being burned to the ground and police officers forced to flee for their lives when a police precinct was stormed and torched.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday imposed a mandatory nighttime curfew for residents citywide after three nights of protests. The curfew prohibits anyone from being in public spaces between 8pm and 6am this weekend.
Meanwhile, a new video emerged of law enforcement officers firing several paint rounds at civilians standing on their own property in an effort to enforce the city’s curfew.
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Businesses were burned to the ground in Minneapolis during Saturday night’s protests. Images show volunteers digging and searching through debris of businesses along East Lake Street on Sunday for possible charred remains of rumored victims trapped in the building
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Local residents inspect a burned post office that was destroyed during continued demonstrations in the city
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A man looks inside of a burned post office that was destroyed during protests Saturday night
Cell phone footage shows what appears to be an armored truck rolling down a residential street while nearly two dozen officers and law enforcement march behind.
The police were reportedly patrolling the Whittier neighborhood during the volatile protests on Saturday and attempting to enforce the new curfew.
In the video, several members of law enforcement can be heard screaming ‘go inside now’ to direct residents off of the streets.
San Francisco, California
Curfews were also announced in other California cities including San Francisco, where the mayor called for the National Guard to be put on standby.
Images from San Francisco showed police surveying the damage of businesses in the city. Photos showed shattered glass, knocked over mannequins and graffiti sprayed on walls.
City crews were also seen cleaning up some of the devastation left behind by rioters overnight.
San Francisco, California: Images from San Francisco showed police surveying the damage of businesses in the city
San Francisco, California: City crews were also seen cleaning up some of the devastation left behind by rioters overnight
San Francisco: Photos showed shattered glass, knocked over mannequins and graffiti sprayed on walls
New York, New York
In New York City, banks, storefronts and vehicles were destroyed during protests Saturday night.
One image shows a burned out police car in lower Manhattan. Other images show glass and debris outside a Verizon store and a chair that was thrown into the glass window of a Chase bank.
New York City officials were looking for a peaceful way forward as the city entered a fourth day of protests against police brutality that have led to the arrest of hundreds of people.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had no plans to impose a curfew Sunday, unlike other major US cities, and smaller cities throughout the state.
In New York City, banks, storefronts and vehicles were destroyed during protests Saturday night. One image shows a burned out police car in lower Manhattan
New York, New York: Other images show glass and debris outside a Verizon store (pictured)
New York, New York: Glass and debris is seen scattered on a sidewalk outside of a Verizon store in Manhattan
New York, New York: A chair that was thrown into the glass window of a Chase bank during Saturday night’s protests is seen on the sidewalk
De Blasio said city police showed ‘tremendous restraint overall’ during the weekend’s protests, but promised an investigation of video showing two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators on a Brooklyn street.
He was appointing two city officials to conduct an independent review of how the protests unfolded and how they were handled by the police.
‘We all better get back to the humanity here,’ de Blasio said at a Sunday morning briefing. ‘The protesters are human beings. They need to be treated with tremendous respect. The police officers are human beings. They need to be treated with tremendous respect.’
Hours after he spoke, demonstrations resumed. Hundreds of people gathered on a plaza in downtown Brooklyn, chanting ‘No justice, no peace,’ and ‘Black lives matter,’ while making occasional insulting hand gestures at a line of police officers protecting the arena where the NBA’s Nets play.
Largely peaceful protests around the city Saturday gave way to scattered clashes between police and protesters later in the evening. Demonstrators smashed shop windows, threw objects at officers, set police vehicles on fire and blocked roads. Graffiti was scrawled on Manhattan’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
There were multiple complaints about police unnecessarily shoving or bludgeoning protesters and spraying crowds with chemicals.
New York City police said 345 people were arrested, 33 officers were injured and 27 police vehicles were damaged or destroyed by fire. There were no major injuries reported. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said some peaceful demonstrations were ‘hijacked’ by people with violent intent.
Damage was also reported in parts of Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh. Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse provided an assist to a local television camera operator after protests turned violent Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Ian Smith of KDKA-TV was tossed to the ground and his camera was broken outside of PPG Paints Arena, just as Morehouse was exiting the facility.
Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Smith was dragged inside the arena by Morehouse before being transported to nearby Mercy Hospital.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A cinder block was thrown into a Starbucks in Pittsburgh during protests in the city on Saturday
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Businesses were destroyed in multiple cities in Pennsylvania, including this Starbucks in Pittsburgh
‘I was attacked by protesters downtown by the arena. They stomped and kicked me. I’m bruised and bloody but alive,’ Smith wrote on Twitter. ‘My camera was destroyed. Another group of protesters pulled me out and saved my life. Thank you!’
KDKA-AM broadcaster Larry Richert wrote of Smith’s ordeal on his Facebook page, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Richert lauded the efforts of Morehouse, who is a Pittsburgh native.
‘Today, our city’s peaceful protest turned violent and ugly,’ Richert wrote. ‘A Pittsburgh Police car was set on fire in front of PPG Paints Arena. During this event, a good friend from KDKA-TV, Ian Smith, an extremely talented photographer and editor was covering the event with reporter/anchor Paul Martino when they were attacked. Ian said they were shouting “Kill him! Kill him!” and destroyed his camera.
‘Fearing and pleading for his life he was saved by Pittsburgh Penguins President David Morehouse who was in his office at the time. There is no way to properly thank Mr. Morehouse for his courage.’
A team spokesperson confirmed Morehouse’s role in assisting Smith but declined further comment.
A statue of team co-owner Mario Lemieux was vandalized with spray paint during the protests, which are in response to the death of George Floyd on Monday in Minneapolis.