Dozens of cities across the United States were left early Sunday to assess the toll of a grim night of violent riots that left at least three dead, dozens injured, hundreds arrested and buildings and businesses in charred ruins as protests over the death of a black Minneapolis man in police custody continued for a fifth day.
Mayors of major cities imposed curfews, governors in nearly a dozen states deployed the National Guard in a desperate bid to stem the mayhem, chaos and wreckage. Though the incident that touched off the rioting occurred Monday in Minnesota and led to a cop being swiftly charged with murder, the damage seemed to culminate Saturday night and spanned from coast to coast.
In Brooklyn, N.Y., at least 200 people were arrested and “countless” officers were hurt. In Beverly Hills, Calif., shops along the storied Rodeo Drive were looted as a crowd estimated at more than 2,000 people chanted "Eat the rich!'
The protests were sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck in a viral video. Chauvin has been fired and charged with third-degree murder, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the case.
Crowds across the nation have seized on the racially charged incident to demand justice, but the protests have turned increasingly violent, culminating in a weekend of carnage.
In New York, a woman was charged Saturday with attempted murder after allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into a police squad car in Brooklyn. Cars were set ablaze in the borough, and in Manhattan's usually peaceful Union Square, where cops squared off against protesters late into the night.
Protesters turned violent after a video circulated online showing an NYPD SUV ramming into a group of protesters in Brooklyn.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident “troubling,” but added, “if those protesters had just gotten out of the way and not created an attempt to surround that vehicle, we would not be talking about this situation.”
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County as hundreds of looters converged on downtown stores and clashed with cops. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a curfew for Saturday night after 500 people were arrested and five police officers were hurt as protests turned violent.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. after hundreds of protesters gathered at Federal Plaza for a demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter. Police cars were set ablaze and covered with anti-cop graffiti and demonstrators were reportedly arrested near Trump Tower.
- Some 13 Philadelphia police officers were injured and more than a dozen people arrested as cars were burned and businesses vandalized before midnight. Mayor Jim Kenney implemented a mandatory citywide curfew starting at 8 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m.Sunday.
- In Indianapolis, three people were shot and killed and at least two others wounded as protests morphed into mob violence, according to Police Chief Randal Taylor.
- In Denver, a car rammed into a police vehicle, "severely" injuring three officers and a civilian and rioters armed with crowbars, baseball bats, assault rifles and handguns attacked cops and peaceful protesters, according to Police Chief Paul Pazen.
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated 200 National Guard members after rioting in Seattle intensified. After protesters shut down Interstate 5 through central Seattle, police used flash bangs and pepper spray to scatter them.
Violent protests, vandalism and riots were reported in dozens of other cities.
Damage to police vehicles and assaults against law enforcement officers Saturday night prompted San Francisco Mayor London Breed to call for an immediate curfew until 5 a.m. local time -- and to request that California National Guard personnel be placed on standby.
"What we are seeing tonight -- the violence, the vandalism and the crimes being committed in our city, not against property but against other people -- that is something that we will not tolerate," Breed said, according to FOX 2 of the Bay Area.
Across the bay in Emeryville, a popular shopping destination, looters appeared to be running rampant, smashing windows, and stealing items from popular stores including Best Buy, BevMo and Urban Outfitters, according to the report.
In addition, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County, FOX 11 reported.
Many cities stepped up police presence, with TV and social media showing images of rioters being hit with pepper spray or rubber bullets.
In Ohio, 70-year-old U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty was among a group of people hit with pepper spray as police looked to gain control in Columbus, the state capital.
"I'm ok. Was just trying my best to deescalate the situation," Beatty wrote on Twitter afterward.
Earlier Saturday, President Trump condemned the riots that had taken place in previous days, vowing to stop what he labeled "mob violence."
“The memory of Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters, and anarchists,” Trump said, blaming "Antifa and other radical left-wing groups for terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings."
National Guard arrives
In Utah, the National Guard arrived in Salt Lake City after protests turned violent.
Police vehicles were targeted and set on fire Saturday, prompting Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, to call for an 8 p.m. curfew that will last until 6 a.m. Monday.
Police forces appeared overly rough with an elderly man watching the protests, and knocked him to the ground.
Only minor injuries were reported for police and protesters.
In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms established a curfew starting at 9 p.m. Saturday following Friday night's violent protests.
The protests continued Saturday and police arrested demonstrators who were blocking traffic.
Security officials surrounded Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's house as crowds of protesters gathered near the mansion. A brick was reportedly thrown at one of the police officers.
Mayor Bottoms denounced the riots at a Saturday news conference.
"When you run it down the street with a Gucci bag, that's not about black people dying in America," she said. "That's about killing ourselves when we do things like that."
Multiple police vehicles were reportedly set on fire after protesters and police officers clashed.
The protest started peacefully in front of City Hall as hundreds of people kneeled in silence in honor of George Floyd.
“We appreciate their voice and their manner of expression. However, since that time, others have convened in Center City and are committing criminal acts, including vandalism. Those acts will not be tolerated,” the Philadelphia Police Department tweeted.
About 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Chicago on Saturday, filling the streets and climbing on cars and buses.
Police and protesters clashed in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower after police with helmets and batons pushed demonstrators out of the way so a police car could get through.
Bottles and fireworks were reportedly thrown at police officers in front of the hotel.
Video posted to Twitter showed what appeared to be Chicago police officers being swarmed, hit and dragged by protesters.
In Chicago, 108 people were reportedly arrested, but no serious injuries were reported.
But police responded to more than a dozen “police emergencies” as they tried to control the crowds.
In Washington, protesters again converged outside the White House, with some climbing on top of Secret Service cars and pushing security barricades further down Pennsylvania Avenue.
President Trump had praised the Secret Service's action Friday night by saying the protesters would “...have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons,” had they crossed the White House fence.
But Trump criticized D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for not letting D.C. police get involved, quoting her as saying “not their job.”
Bowser fired back, first calling Trump's comments “gross” and saying his reference to attack dogs ignited the worst memories in America’s fight against segregation.
"We are grieving hundreds of years of institutional racism," Bowser said. "People are tired, sad, angry, and desperate for change."
Bowser, who was joined by D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, also said that Trump’s claims regarding the D.C. police were false.
D.C. police were present, along with U.S. Park Police, Friday night, and were ready to help Secret Service in Layfette Park, the area where protestors gathered in front of the White House, as they have done in the past.
Close to 300 protesters were reportedly arrested in New York City between Thursday and Friday night, and demonstrators continued to protest through Saturday.
New Yorkers also mourned the death of Eric Garner, who died from an NYPD officer’s chokehold in 2014 by attending a rally the Rev. Al Sharpton hosted.
The crowd chanted “I can’t breathe,” which were the last words Garner reportedly said -- but also one of the last statements said by Floyd before he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
Trump has responded to the nationwide protests by blaming liberal leaders and threatening use of the military involvement.
In a tweet Saturday, he said: “Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military.”