The death of George Floyd has caused outrage across the country. After the video of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling into his neck for nearly nine minutes went viral, riots broke out not only in the Twin Cities but also in New York City. In the last minutes of Floyd’s life he uttered the words “I can’t breathe,” just as police brutality victim Eric Garner did during the 2014 incident with NYPD officers that led to his death. So Floyd’s killing struck a cord with New Yorkers and they took to the streets of the city infuriated over his unjust death.
On May 29th, 2020 protests erupted in Brooklyn. Protesters were tussling and clashing with police officers, fires were set and many arrests were made. At one point, NYPD officers demanded that a bus driver for a B41 bus transport a bus load of arrested protesters. In solidarity with the protesters, the bus driver refused to do so. When the bus driver got off of the bus, protesters cheered him on.
The Transport Workers Union supported the bus driver’s decision via Twitter.
“Bus Operators do not work for the NYPD,” read the tweet.” We transport the working families of NYC, all TWU Operators should refuse to transport arrested protesters.”
The protest was reportedly peaceful most of the day but became chaotic after police officers began to tell protesters to leave. Things turned violent when officers and protesters began shoving each other and tussling. Objects like bricks, bottles and even a Molotov cocktail were thrown at officers. A NYPD van was even burned later in the evening at Fort Greene Park. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that there were more than 3,000 people protesting yesterday according to AM New York. Over 200 of them were arrested.
“This is horrifying and unacceptable,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted. “The NYPD must respect the right of New Yorkers to make their voices heard as we mourn and demand justice for George Floyd. We knew this protest was happening tonight. We should have been prepared to handle it peacefully.”