New York City’s second night under curfew was calmer than the first, with mostly peaceful demonstrators marching to protest the death of George Floyd and sporadic reports of vandalism.
The citywide curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday was imposed to prevent the nighttime chaos and destruction that followed peaceful protests for several days in a row. Chief of Department Terence Monahan said the order to clear the streets at 8 p.m., three hours earlier than Monday’s 11 p.m. curfew, allowed police to take control of city streets.
“The earlier curfew really helped our cops take out of the neighborhoods people that didn’t belong there,” Monahan said on NBC’s “Today.”
Monahan said officers allowed peaceful protests to continue after 8 p.m. but added, “when a group of people that were looking to cause mayhem broke off, we were able to take care of them very quickly.”
Police said they arrested about 280 people on charges related to the protests, compared with 700 the previous night.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the 8 p.m. curfew would be in place through Sunday, but he rejected urging from President Donald Trump and an offer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring in the National Guard.
Marchers chanted slogans as they wound through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn deep into the night Tuesday.
“I didn’t think they were gonna let us go on,” said Risha Munoz, who was marching on Manhattan’s Upper West Side after the curfew, “but we just kept on moving and we’re not stopping.”
The marches were part of a wave of protests across the country since the May 25 death of Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck.
“Something has to break, and it’s not going to be us,” said Evan Kutcher, one of hundreds of demonstrators chanting Floyd’s name outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
NYPD officers forced two Associated Press journalists to stop covering the protests Tuesday night, surrounding them, shoving them and cursing at them while yelling at them to go home, despite the fact that the curfew order exempts the media.
Many stores across the city were boarded up to prevent the smash-and-grab looting that took place Sunday and Monday nights. Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship Manhattan store was covered in plywood and razor wire, and private security guards were posted outside.