With rolling demonstrations over the death last week of George Floyd showing little sign of letting up, President Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy by saying strong jobs numbers marked a “great day” for Floyd.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for November’s election, called Trump’s comments “frankly despicable,” as thousands took to streets across America Friday for a 10th straight day of anti-racism demonstrations.
The protests, sparked by a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as he pleaded for his life, took place amid a roiling controversy over officers’ us of force against largely peaceful protesters.
In Buffalo, New York, two policemen were suspended without pay after a video showed them shoving over a 75-year-old protester who fell and suffered a head injury.
Reporting the suspension on Twitter, city mayor Byron Brown said he and the police commissioner were “deeply disturbed” by the video.
An earlier police statement said the man, who appeared unconscious and bleeding heavily from the head, “tripped and fell.” Governor Andrew Cuomo called the incident “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful,” in a tweet. “Police Officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,” he wrote.
In Indianapolis, police launched an investigation after a video emerged showing at least four officers hitting a woman with batons and firing pepper balls at her on Sunday night.
And in New York City on Thursday, officers baton-charged dozens of peaceful protesters defying a curfew in the Bronx after pinning them in, leaving them with nowhere to run, several reports said.
The NYPD made 270 arrests as its officers broke up several protests taking place across the city after the 8:00 pm curfew. Under-fire New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who imposed the week-long night-time curfew after widespread looting earlier in the week, has repeatedly said the NYPD is showing “restraint.”
Floyd, 46, died in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis while handcuffed during a May 25 arrest for a non-violent offense. His death reignited longstanding resentment over police killings of African-Americans and unleashed a nationwide wave of protest unlike anything seen in the US since Martin Luther King’s 1968 assassination.
Mass protests have also taken place in European capitals and on Friday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a large demonstration in Ottawa.
In US, some of the early protests were marred by rioting and looting but they have been mostly peaceful since then.
Curfews have been lifted in Washington, Los Angeles and other cities but New York’s is due to run for the next three nights.
Several thousand marched in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon as activists sought to keep up the movement’s momentum into the weekend.
Some of their demands have been met: Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd, has been charged with second-degree murder while three officers who assisted him have been charged with aiding and abetting his murder.
Large protests are planned for Saturday, including in Washington and outside the Trump National Hotel in Miami.