Americans hit the streets for a seventh day to decry the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, a shocking incident caught on video that has reanimated a nation paralyzed by a pandemic.
Demonstrations that began in Minneapolis on May 26 spread across the nation over the following nights and, on Tuesday, found mass appeal for the fourth straight day in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., where protesters stayed past a 7 p.m. curfew.
Some of those in the park said they were taking to the streets for the first time, motivated by President Donald Trump’s walk to a nearby church Monday that was preceded with tear gas and flash bangs used to clear out dissenters.
A group of hundreds if not thousands marching in the area near the White House chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and “We want change.”
New York City also saw people new to the demonstrations hit the streets.
Bronx resident April Gopie said she saw fires Monday from her apartment window and was compelled to join the fray Tuesday.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” she said. “I’m just hoping that the same people that are here now are gonna ride with us to the end because this doesn’t make me any less worried about my brothers and sisters.”
Sections of Manhattan’s iconic Grand Central Terminal were boarded up Tuesday as shops and restaurants closed and only passengers were allowed to be there.
At Minneapolis City Hall the mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, broke down crying during an emotional plea for justice.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” Roxie Washington said, her voice breaking, while she stood with her daughter. “At the end of the day they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father.”
Washington was referring to Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, charged with third-degree murder, and three other officers who stood by as he pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck even as the victim said, “I can’t breathe.”
All four were immediately fired, but there are growing calls for the officers who stood by to be charged in the case as well.
”He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle,” Washington said of Floyd and their daughter. “I want justice for him because he was good,” she said, adding that Floyd was a good father.
“He loved her, he loved her so much,” she said.
Protesters held a “die-in” in Boston by lying down in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the time an officer held his knee against Floyd’s neck after police were called to a report of someone trying to use counterfeit money at a market in Minneapolis Monday.
In Los Angeles County on Tuesday, demonstrators marched through Beverly Hills and occupied the streets of Hollywood. In Manhattan Beach, California they marched along a boardwalk lined with multimillion-dollar homes, chanting, “Martial law is wrong,” and carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs.
In Charlotte, North Carolina protesters gathered for the fifth straight day. Hundreds took a knee as a gesture against police violence against African Americans.
More than 1,000 people marched from City Hall to police headquarters in Orlando, Florida Tuesday.
Curfews in places like Los Angeles and Minneapolis don’t seem to have quelled the action. But some participants are thinking about what will happen when the demonstrations fade.
“Once this dies down, then we need to think about what’s next because the people killed by police are not just names and hashtags,” said Gopie of the Bronx. “That was somebody’s son, daughter, cousin, aunt or uncle — that could be me.”
Garrett Haake contributed.