Massive demonstrations over racial injustice dominate US for second Saturday

Massive crowds flooded U.S. cities large and small on Saturday to protest police brutality, racial injustice and the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. 

Protests erupted across the country last week after bystander video of Floyd's death surfaced. The footage showed former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, remaining in the position even after Floyd became unresponsive. 

The demonstrations continued into this week after protesters endured violent confrontations with law enforcement, including exposure to tear gas, beatings with with batons, helicopter crowd control tactics and other uses of force. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The population of the protests reached record levels Saturday as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. 

In Philadelphia, protests commenced at the city's art museum as demonstrators made the trek to City Hall, chanting, "No justice, no peace. No racist police," according to ABC

Aerial footage captured by NBC10 Philadelphia showed swarms of protesters filling main thoroughfares in the Pennsylvania city. 

 

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense: Trump's battle with Pentagon poses risks in November | Lawmakers launch Fort Hood probe | Military members can't opt out of tax deferral Lawmakers launch investigation into Fort Hood after 28th death this year Overnight Defense: China aims to double nuclear arsenal | Fort Hood commander removed after string of deaths MORE told The Associated Press on Friday that local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters over the weekend.

ADVERTISEMENT

Manhattan saw several thousand people gathered near the northwest corner of central park for a demonstration called The March for Stolen Dreams and Looted Lives, The New York Times reported.

Hundreds were reportedly in attendance at Massachusetts protests scheduled in Worcester, Cambridge, Salem and Lawrence and at the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center in Boston, according to a local NBC affiliate.

Sky cams over Chicago also showed massive crowds of demonstrators beginning at the city's Union Park that marched through the city's West Side on Saturday afternoon, according to WGN9.

ADVERTISEMENT

Demonstrations in California drew crowds of thousands, with protesters marching across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Demonstrators also came out in large numbers in Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento.

Hundreds marched from Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center to a city plaza Saturday, passing an area near the state Capitol where "Black Lives Matter" had been painted in giant letters, stretching three blocks, a local CBS affiliate reported.

The National Guard was present during demonstrations in Los Angeles as people made their way to protest at the City Hall.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thousands gathered in the French Quarter in New Orleans for protests Friday evening. Authorities blocked Jackson Square after reports that some demonstrators called for the removal of Andrew Jackson's statue, CBS affiliate 4WWL reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

The protests also reached rural America and medium-sized cities. 

In Boise, Idaho, thousands of people gathered on Friday to protest police brutality. In Sioux Falls, S.D., a city of 181,883, at least 1,000 people attended a protest on Friday.

In McAllen, Texas — a city of 143,433 people — dozens of peaceful protesters gathered to protest Floyd’s death throughout the week.

In Tyler, an east Texas city of just more than 100,000 residents, hundreds gathered in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

And in Raeford, N.C, large swaths of people gathered in lines to pay their respects to Floyd at an open viewing of his body and at a memorial service held in the area.

Floyd was born in Raeford, where his family members as well as members of law enforcement and government officials celebrated his life. 

Organizers and demonstrators in the U.S. are calling for sweeping reforms to address police brutality and racial inequity. 

Democrats will introduce wide-ranging legislation on Monday to combat racial inequality. The package, crafted by the Congressional Black Caucus will include ways to eradicate racial profiling, rein in excessive force used by police and repeal the so-called qualified immunity doctrine.

The doctrine protects individual officers from lawsuits over actions they perform while on duty and has served as an obstacle in charging and prosecuting officers who use excessive force. 

Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was arrested the same week of Floyd's death and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter days after the incident. 

Chauvin’s charges were eventually increased to second-degree murder, a charge that could result in a maximum prison sentence of 40 years.

The three other officers involved in Floyd’s death were not arrested until a week after the incident, when they were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.  

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the case moved at “extraordinary speed,” noting it’s the fastest the county has ever charged a police officer.

With large crowds at nationwide demonstrations, instances of police violence have been documented

Police officers seen in some bystander videos seen using force have been charged as a result of their actions. 

In Philadelphia, a police inspector was charged with assault Saturday after video surfaced showing him striking a Temple University student protester with a metal baton. 

Two Buffalo, N.Y., police officers who were seen pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground on Thursday were suspended and charged with second-degree assault.

Other cities have seen policy changes in their police departments. 

In Minneapolis, the city reached an agreement with state negotiators to ban the use of chokeholds in the police department after the city’s public school system and parks and recreation board cut ties with the law enforcement agency. 

In other cities, leaders are seriously considering cutting the budgets of their police departments. This comes as they face both demands from protesters and massive budget fallouts.

Updated on June 7 at 12:44 p.m.