By Anika Pruthi
Government officials, protesters and law enforcement officers are preparing for George Floyd protests to escalate after some peaceful demonstrations took a chaotic turn in cities across the country over the past week, according to The New York Times.
In defiance of current coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions placed by the government, protesters have rallied with signs such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Justice for George Floyd” in an attempt to see legislative action toward excessive use of force by police. However, some have been overshadowed by overnight violence stemming from individuals who were not a part of the peaceful message.
Sunday, May 31, marked the sixth day of protests in at least 75 cities, as reported by The New York Times. The Target department store on Lake Street in Minneapolis, closest to where Floyd died, has been damaged and looted, according to MSN.
In one instance of a lack of police accountability, a Kentucky man was shot and killed in the early morning on June 1 by the National Guard and police forces, according to USA Today, in which body cameras were not turned on to record the event and the situation leading up to it.
CNN reported that the protests got so violent in Washington D.C. on Friday that President Trump moved to a secure underground bunker for protection. The president took an unprecedented stance on Monday, as reported by the Washington Post, threatening to send in the military and other federal resources to “solve the problem” for mayors and governors unwilling to activate their national guardsmen.
According to the Associated Press, at least 4,400 people were arrested as of May 31 following the protests.
In many major cities that have seen protests, like Philadelphia, curfews have been implemented in an attempt to curb rioting, according to CBS3 in Philadelphia. Other cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and scores more, have taken similar steps.
“‘We support the right of peaceful protests and we hear their pleas, but what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with the memory of George Floyd,’” Trump said, according to Politico.
According to the LA Times, Trump has accused “left-wing extremists,” such as the group ANTIFA, for stoking violence.
Protests have also extended beyond the U.S., including London and Berlin, according to CNN. Lawmakers such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) have been preparing legislation regarding national police misconduct by altering federal law Section 242.
Floyd was confronted by police for an alleged counterfeit $20 bill after a purchase of a pack of cigarettes, according to BBC News. Officer Derek Chauvin, one of the four officers who responded to the incident, pulled Floyd out of the car, while handcuffed, and placed his knee on his neck after he allegedly began to resist arrest.
Chauvin was fired and has also been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to BBC News. The three other officers were charged on June 3 with aiding and abetting, according to the Associated Press.