As evening fell across the nation Monday, officials in cities coast to coast were hoping curfews would prevent another night of violent, chaotic demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd.
There were early signs, however, that the citywide orders would not be enough to keep the peace between protesters and police in some places.
In Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a rare curfew after several nights of looting and vandalism, police fired tear gas outside the White House to move demonstrators away as President Donald Trump announced he would deploy U.S. military troops across the country if states could not contain the unrest on their own.
Meanwhile, in the nation’s most populous city, New York City, a curfew was slated to begin at 11 p.m. Monday night and run through 5 a.m. Tuesday after the arrests of hundreds of protesters, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, during four days of protests against police brutality that included setting fire to New York Police Department cruisers.
“The men and women of this Police Department will be consistent, they will be out there again ensuring the rights of people to peacefully assemble,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday ahead of anticipated protests. “We ask all New Yorkers to participate and do it safely.”
At least one looting had already been reported Monday evening, at a Nike store in Manhattan’s Union Square, the New York Times reported.
The curfews, which have been imposed from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, come in response to the in-custody death of Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, on Memorial Day. Floyd, 46, was killed after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, crushed him to the ground with a knee to Floyd’s neck. The death ignited widespread protests against racism and mistreatment by police after Floyd’s final helpless moments were caught on video.
The uprisings come at a time when public safety resources are already stretched as cities fight the coronavirus pandemic, with many still enforcing stay-at-home orders.
In Minneapolis, where police had clashed with demonstrators and journalists covering the riots in dramatic fashion in the last several days, a calm appeared to set in across the city on Monday evening, with hundreds of people gathered at a memorial for Floyd at the site where he was killed.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.