Extremist Groups Join George Floyd Protesters: (CNN) Demonstrators filled the streets across the US on Sunday to once again protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis.
From Philadelphia to San Diego, crowds wearing masks to ward off coronavirus clogged streets and stopped traffic. What started as peaceful protests sometimes turned violent. Stores were looted and burned and police pelted with rocks and bottles. Hundreds of people have been arrested.
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Cities extended curfews into Sunday night and beyond in an attempt to tamp down the violence and vandalism. Chicago extended its curfew after 240 people were arrested and six people were shot on Saturday.
One of the six people died, Police Superintendent David Brown said, adding that police cars were turned over and spray painted with graffiti during the protests.
“We have officers with broken bones and bruises,” Brown said. “More than 20 officers went to the hospital, at least two of these required surgery.”
In Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, at least 10 people were arrested for looting, five police officers injured and four police cars burned, said Brian Abernathy, managing director for the city. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called for a Sunday curfew starting at 6 p.m. and said the national guard will be asked to guard “fixed posts” such as city hall.
Center City was closed to everybody but residents. Mayors from at least 25 cities had issued curfews for Saturday night to try to prevent violence, but some curfews were ignored. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia have activated the National Guard to respond to the unrest, a defense official told CNN.
Video below: Chaos In Minneapolis
In Minnesota, the National Guard announced it was sending a total of 10,800 members to respond to the protests. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp authorized at least 3,000 National Guard troops ahead of protests expected Sunday. In total, more than 20 states and about 40 cities imposed curfews for Sunday.
Some of them were:
- Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz said operational moves like the closing of major highways will continue. “We are not done yet,” he said.
- Detroit: The city will have a curfew as long as the police chief thinks it’s necessary, Mayor Mike Duggan said. Police Chief James Craig said 84 people were arrested Saturday night — twice the number from Friday.
- San Francisco: Mayor London Breed said the city supports peaceful protests but “some of the violence and vandalism we saw last night is unacceptable.”
Protests outside White House
On Sunday afternoon, a large group of protesters were in a standoff with law enforcement at Lafayette Park, near the White House, CNN’s Alex Marquardt reported. The area around the White House has been the scene of violent protests for the past several days.
More than 60 Secret Service personnel have been injured during that time in the area, along with 11 Metropolitan Police Department officers. White House executive office staff received an email urging them to stay away from the White House complex on Sunday, if possible, because of “ongoing demonstrations.”
During the protests on Friday, President Donald Trump was briefly taken to the White House underground bunker for a period of time, according to a White House official and a law enforcement source.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, visited the site of Saturday night’s protests in Wilmington, Delaware, according to posts on Biden’s social media accounts.
“The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose,” Biden wrote on Instagram. “And as President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen, just as I did today visiting the site of last night’s protests in Wilmington.”
Minneapolis chief has message for Floyd’s family
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo went to the site of Floyd’s death Sunday night, where he spoke to protesters. “In my mind, this was a violation of humanity,” he said. “This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on, this goes absolutely against it.”
Through a video feed, the chief spoke directly to Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd. Arrandonado removed his hat and said, “I am absolutely, devastatingly sorry for their loss.
In Minneapolis, a tractor trailer split a crowd of protesters marching on a freeway, aerial footage from CNN affiliate WCCO showed. When the truck stopped, protesters apparently pulled the driver out of his vehicle before police arrived. The driver was taken to a hospital and arrested, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted.
In some cities, perpetrators threw bottles at officers or burned police cars. Dozens of police officers were injured. Police responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and arrests. Some states called in National Guard soldiers by the hundreds to respond to the unrest.
In Santa Monica, California, looting occurred along the Third Street Promenade. Later in the day, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, who had largely gathered peacefully. Two Atlanta police officers were fired after viral video showed them using excessive force to drag two young people out of a car on Saturday, CNN affiliate WSB reported.
Three other officers may be disciplined. “There clearly was an use of excessive force,” Mayor Keisha Lancer Bottoms said.
Outside groups are behind some of the violence, officials say
Federal law enforcement officials said they are aware of outside groups causing some of the violence, using the cover of the legitimate protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Those domestic extremist groups include white supremacists, anarchists and far-left extremists, some of whom have overlapping affiliations, the law enforcement officials said.
On Sunday, Trump announced the US will designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. But experts say that would be unconstitutional. The US government has no existing legal authority to label a wholly domestic group.
Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left — often the far left — but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform.
Trump tweets Antifa will be labeled a terrorist organization but experts believe that’s unconstitutional Antifa positions can be hard to define, but many members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get their message across.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CNN on Sunday that he blames outsiders for the city’s protests turning violent, saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if Antifa was involved. In Georgia, Kemp also said he believed those involved in looting and violence were not joining the protests to demand justice for Floyd’s death, CNN affiliate WSB reported.
Kemp said many of the violent instigators may not even be from the state. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said looters organized and possibly came from outside of the city.
“There clearly was coordination, they were clearly listening to our radio traffic,” she said. “The number of U-Haul trucks that magically showed up in front of stores, car caravans that dropped people off and broke windows and then were hustling the goods out into the backs of the cars — absolutely, it was organized.”
Hundreds arrested across the US
In many parts of the country, authorities detained protesters who threw projectiles at police or damaged property. But some were outsiders who weren’t even part of the original protests.
In New York City, 33 officers were injured overnight, including some who were seriously injured, a senior NYPD official told CNN.
About four dozen police vehicles were damaged or destroyed, and more than 340 people were arrested, the official said. In Dallas, police arrested at least 74 people. In Atlanta, 51 people were arrested Saturday night and a small crowd remained out past the city’s 9 p.m. curfew, police said.
Officials in some states have said many are coming just to wreak havoc. “Nothing we do to provide justice for George Floyd … matter(s) to any of these people who are out here firing upon National Guard, burning businesses of our communities,” Walz, the Minnesota governor, told reporters on Saturday.
A CNN analysis found about 80% of the 51 people booked into a Minneapolis jail during two days of protests are actually from Minnesota. Data from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office showed 43 of those 51 accused of rioting, unlawful assembly, burglary or damage to property had Minnesota addresses.
In Philadelphia, where some 3,000 protesters gathered Saturday, Mayor Kenney said the majority of those demonstrators were peaceful and expressed “our collective grief.” “The people that were doing the actual protests were not the problem,” Kenney said. “The people who were actually marching for a purpose were not the problem.
It was this ragtag group of people who were destructive folks, who were doing the things to our officers, to the buildings, setting cars on fire.” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said a “large percentage” of non-African Americans arrested Saturday night inside the city were the ones who incited the violence and looting.
Floyd’s grieving relatives are ‘not alone, unfortunately’
For the past five days, thousands of protesters remained civil and never caused any unrest. Many knelt, others chanted, and some carried signs with Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe.”
Those were also the final words of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after a New York City police officer wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck, jerked him back and pulled him to the ground.
Garner’s daughter said it’s “heartbreaking” that the Floyd family must endure what her family has suffered.
“The one thing that I would let them know is … there’s a lot of people out on the front line (protesting). They’re fighting for us,” Emerald Snipes-Garner told CNN on Sunday.
Americans and public officials have demanded justice against the four officers involved in 46-year-old Floyd’s death. All four were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday.
Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis officer seen in a video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His bail has been set at $500,000.