New York City protesters who marched through Manhattan outraged at George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis cop were “bent on confronting the police” unlike most peaceful demonstrations, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Friday.
Police said 72 people were taken into custody — including someone under 18 — during the demonstration Thursday afternoon that began in Union Square and ended in Lower Manhattan near Zuccotti Park.
Five of the protesters, mostly in their 20s, were charged with assaulting cops, authorities said. Two others were charged with reckless endangerment and a third was charged with resisting arrest.
“One of our cops had a garbage can thrown at him. He suffered a concussion,” Monahan said. “(A sergeant) was thrown to the ground. He suffered a concussion. He was out for a little bit. Taken to the hospital. And a deputy inspector had his shoulders and back injured when he was thrown to the ground.”
Another inspector was punched in the face, but was uninjured and several cops were spit on, said Monahan who witnessed the clashes firsthand.
“This group last night was bent on confronting the police and fighting with the police,” he said. “Unlike the 99.9% of demonstrations … which are peaceful, and people go out there and try and express their opinions, which we 100% support, last night’s group was bent on confronting, throwing bottles at police, throwing garbage can, throwing highway cones, garbage through the streets, taking over the highway.
“At that point we had to go in and make arrests of individuals that were causing that mayhem,” he said.
More than 200 protesters showed up Thursday in Manhattan to protest the death of George Floyd who was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis cop on Monday. Footage of the arrest went viral on social media the next day, sparking national outrage.
The 10-minute video shows Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he cries “I can’t breathe.”
“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd says in the video. “Water or something, please. I can’t breathe.” He died a short time later at a hospital.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the Minneapolis police department, officials said. Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder charges Friday.
“(He’s) a cop who’s basically caused 800,000 law enforcement officers across this country to have to pay the price for his actions,” Monahan said about Chauvin.
Thursday’s protest began in Union Square with people screaming, “No justice, no peace!” “We stand loud, we stand proud!” and “F— the police!”
By early evening, they had moved to the Foley Square court complex, City Hall and then Zuccotti Park, the site of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests.
At Zuccotti Park, three men and three women rushed a line of police officers. One of them, a man in his 20s, charged an NYPD inspector, and others in the crowd threw objects at police. All six who rushed the officers were arrested.
Some of the protesters tried to move toward the West Side Highway near the World Trade Center, but were pushed back by police.
Police and protesters clashed again near traffic barricades at Albany St. and West St., where several demonstrators tried to break through barricades as bottles of water, hand sanitizer and bleach sailed through the air.
By 9 p.m., a thinning crowd of about 100 people made its way to Murray St. and West St.
An additional 28 protesters were given desk appearance tickets for obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, weapons possession, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.
Thirty-five people were given summonses for blocking streets, authorities said. Some were also given violations for disorderly conduct and harassment.