NEWS
01/06/2020 17:59 BST | Updated 02/06/2020 11:23 BST

This Is How Absolutely Massive The George Floyd Protests Are Across The US

States that have been hit by protests are marked in red...

Protests over the murder of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer have reached every single US state, in a level of nationwide demonstration not seen since the 1968 assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Curfews are in place across dozens of cities and National Guard troops have been deployed to back up an already heavily militarised police in at least 23 states.

The arrest on Friday of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s case, has not quelled the demonstrations which look set to enter their seventh night in some areas.

Two major highways in Manhattan were closed after being flooded with protesters chanting “no justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter”.

HuffPost UK

Thousands marched peacefully in Phoenix, Albuquerque and other cities, with some calling for an end to the fires, vandalism and theft, saying it weakened calls for justice and reform.

“They keep killing our people,” said Mahira Louis, 15, who marched with her mother and several hundred others in a peaceful protest through central Boston.

“I’m so sick and tired of it.”

Protests in other cities have been met with violence – with police using tear gas and rubber bullets against the crowds, some of whom have thrown rocks, bricks and glass bottles at officers.

At least 4,400 people have been arrested, according to a tally compiled by the Associated Press.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Demonstrators march in the streets of Manhattan on Sunday.

 

Historical cases of US police brutality

Disgust over generations of racism in a country founded by slaveholders has combined with a string of recent racially charged killings to stoke the anger currently seen on the streets of the US.

Black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. The officers responsible are rarely prosecuted.

This article will highlight a handful of high-profile cases throughout.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday saw the sixth straight night of protests in the city in which Floyd was killed.

In an extraordinary move, the Pentagon said it put military units on a four-hour alert to be ready if requested by the Minnesota governor to help keep the peace.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A member of the Minnesota National Guard assists firefighters putting out a structure fire on Saturday.

“We’re not done,” said Darnella Wade, an organiser for Black Lives Matter in neighbouring St Paul, where thousands gathered peacefully in front of the state capital as state patrolmen and National Guard soldiers lined up in front of about a dozen military-style armoured vehicles.

“They sent us the military, and we only asked them for arrests.”

Among those protesting in Minneapolis was Michael Brown Sr, the father of Michael Brown, whose killing by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, set off unrest in 2014.

“I understand what this family is feeling. I understand what this community is feeling,” he said.

Minneapolis 2016 – Jamar Clark

In 2016 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot dead by police who said he was not handcuffed and had tried to seize one of their weapons.

But witnesses said he was handcuffed and did not struggle with officers before he was shot.

No police officers were charged.

Washington 

The entire Washington, DC National Guard – roughly 1,700 soldiers – was called in to help control the protests, according to two Defence Department officials.

As the protests grew, president Donald Trump retweeted conservative commentator Buck Sexton who called for “overwhelming force” against violent demonstrators.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Police in riot gear keep protesters at bay in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington on Sunday night.

Secret Service agents had rushed Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside, some throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

The president spent nearly an hour in the bunker designed for use in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House.

Critics accuse Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, of further stoking conflict and racial tension rather than seeking to bring the country together and address the underlying issues.

“He’s not helping. [...] He is not leading, he is causing further disruption,” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN on Monday.

“Unless he is going to speak unity and respect and reconciliation and reform for our communities, then I don’t think that he should make a statement at all. It will only make matters worse.”

Atlanta was among a string of cities where protests turned violent.

Dustin Chambers / Reuters
An Atlanta Police car burns as people protest near CNN Center in Atlanta.

New York

New York City has seen widespread protests. The number of demonstrators hurt has not been reported, but police said 30 officers suffered minor injuries and 350 people were arrested.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A police officer pulls a driver from a vehicle during looting in the SoHo shopping district on Sunday evening.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said police conduct was being investigated, with videos showing a police vehicle lurching into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with debris in Brooklyn.

De Blasio said he had not seen a separate video showing an officer pulling down the mask of a black protester to spray something in his face.

New York City 2014 – Eric Garner

Eric Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” uttered as a white police officer held him in a choke hold, became the rallying cry for many subsequent protests over his death.

Last year attorney general William Barr ordered the case to be dropped and the police officer who administered the choke hold was fired but not charged.

California 

In Los Angeles, numerous celebrities including Tessa Thompson joined demonstrations. She shared footage from a Los Angeles protest, which she said was “entirely peaceful” until the Los Angeles Police Department “arrived and escalated it”. 

Singer Ariana Grande, who had urged followers on Instagram to get involved, was spotted with a Black Lives Matter sign at protest in the city.

On Sunday she tweeted that there were “hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage”.

hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage.
all throughout beverly hills and west hollywood we chanted, people beeped and cheered along.
we were passionate, we were loud, we were loving.
cover this too please. #BLACKLIVESMATTERhttps://t.co/vD90CEtF94pic.twitter.com/GZ6uKDfPM7

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 31, 2020

Other celebrities seen at protests in various cities include Emily Ratajkowski, Michael B. Jordan, Timothée Chalamet, John Cusack, J Cole, Paris Jackson, Lil Yachty and Machine Gun Kelly.

There were clashes in other parts of California. In Santa Monica upscale stores were looted along the city’s popular Third Street Promenade before police moved in to make arrests.

The vandalism followed a largely peaceful march, Reuters reports.

California governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and deployed National Guard troops to Los Angeles after overnight protests that evoked memories of the 1992 riots over the police beating of Rodney King.

Los Angeles 1991 – Rodney King

Rodney King was savagely beaten by four police officers on the street in 1991, an event that a bystander managed to capture on camera.

After a high-speed chase, King was eventually stopped and ordered out of the car and he was kicked and hit with batons for around 15 minutes. He had been suspected of drink-driving.

A high-profile trial eventually saw all four officers acquitted, sparking of some of the worst rioting ever seen in an American city. Sixty-three people died and nearly 2,400 were injured.

Pennsylvania

Protesters reportedly threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Police are reflected as they stand guard in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Kentucky 

A protester was shot and killed in Louisville, Kentucky, overnight where police and National Guard troops are reported to have “returned fire” while trying to disperse a crowd.

“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Louisville Metro Police chief Steve Conrad said during a press briefing.

“Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire. We have one man dead at the scene.”

It has yet to be established if the man had in fact been armed.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A protester hides behind a board after police fired tear gas during a protest over the deaths of George Floyd on Saturday.

Ohio

A curfew is in place in Cincinnati, Ohio.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
A street musician plays the drums in an intersection as demonstrators and officers from the Hamilton County Sheriffs Department and Cincinnati Police Department stand-off on Sunday.

Cleveland 2014 – Tamir Rice 

Tamir RIce was just 12 years old when he was shot dead by a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer in 2014. He was holding a toy gun.

No officers were ever charged.

Missouri 

Hundreds of people came out to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, with police deploying tear gas to disperse the crowds on Sunday evening. A curfew remains in place.

Kansas City Star via Getty Images
Police deployed tear gas at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Missouri 2014 – Michael Brown

The shooting dead of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 is recognised as one of the killings that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brown and a friend were stopped by police who suspected them of a robbery in which pack of cigarillos were taken from a shop.

Accounts of the altercation that happened next vary but a white officer, Darren Wilson, shot the unarmed Brown six times. The town of Ferguson was subsequently the scene of extensive violent protests.

Wilson was cleared of any crime. 

North Carolina

Jonathan Drake / Reuters
A policeman fires a tear gas canister at protesters in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Texas

Nuri Vallbona / Reuters
A protester, who was hit by an object fired by police, is aided by other protesters during a rally in Austin, Texas.

Protests have also been reported in:

In the UK, Downing Street has raised concerns about the “very alarming” violence and the arrest of journalists covering the unrest sparked by the death of Floyd.

Boris Johnson’s administration said people must be allowed to protest peacefully and reporters should be free to do their job.