Cities brace for another night of possible unrest

Cities across the nation are bracing for more violence following seven days of protests that have led to chaotic scenes of police and protesters clashing as well as looting and vandalism unfolding throughout the night.

Dozens of cities remain under curfew as demonstrators take to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of four white officers in what has become one of the most powerful nationwide demonstrations against police brutality in decades.  

Amid the unrest, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE has vowed to send the military into cities that cannot seize control of their cities, sparking fears that he is escalating the violence rather than seeking to extinguish fears and fires.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democratic leaders have sparred as well, criticizing their own as city leaders fail to get a hold on the violence and destruction.

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoTrump calls New York City 'hellhole' after court upholds subpoena from city prosecutors Fauci: Partisanship in US has made it harder to suppress coronavirus New Jersey to require masks outdoors MORE (D) publicly criticized New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioTrump calls New York City 'hellhole' after court upholds subpoena from city prosecutors NYPD retirements surge over 400 percent amid tensions with mayor NYC to start painting Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower Thursday despite pushback from Trump MORE and the New York Police Department on Tuesday after Macy’s Department Store and other shops were looted Monday night. 

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night, I believe that,” Cuomo said, calling the mayor’s handling of the matter a “disgrace.”

Democrats on Tuesday condemned the police's use of force against peaceful protesters in D.C., while some Republicans also expressed their discomfort. 

The street was cleared so that Trump and other officials could hold a photo-op outside St. John's Church, where a fire had been set by vandals a night earlier.

“To me at a time like this, the president ought to be trying to calm the nation, pledge to right historic wrongs and be a steady influence. I don’t think he was last night,” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (R-Maine) told reporters Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was painful to watch peaceful protesters be subjected to tear gas in order for the president to go across the street to a church that I believe he’s attended only once,” she said.

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Chamber of Commerce endorses Cornyn for reelection Trump administration narrows suspects in Russia bounties leak investigation: report MORE (R-Neb.) in a statement Tuesday said: “There is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

Washington, D.C., is just one of the cities that has been convulsed with protests over the past week that at times devolved into looting and violence, all unfolding as the nation is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Stores in multiple cities near the areas of protest have boarded up their doors and windows in an effort to protect their business, though sometimes the barriers have not deterred looters. 

Violence has also broken out between police and some protesters, though the majority of demonstrators have been peaceful.

One viral video captured a shocking moment in which a police officer in New York City tried to stop looters and was rammed by their vehicle as they attempted to get away.

Four St. Louis police officers were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening after a shooting erupted Monday evening, the police chief said at an early morning press conference. Police allege the suspect, who has yet to be apprehended or identified, opened fire at a line of officers.

Another police officer in Las Vegas is on life support after being shot in the head.

Videos have also shown peaceful protesters facing attacks from police.

A line of officers in Kansas City on Monday night were captured converging on a black demonstrator who was criticizing them for “prematurely using excessive force.” 

While the protester was several feet away, footage shows the police officers moving in to grab him. And when an acquaintance tried to step in, they were both sprayed at close range with pepper spray. The demonstrator was pulled away, wrestled to the ground and put in restraints.

The long nights have left many wondering whether protests will sustain their momentum for another week or if they will flare out.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the ugliness, there have also been moments of unity that emerged as police joined with protesters in some cities in solidarity.

A line of police officers in Atlanta knelt in front of demonstrators in Centennial Olympic Park on Monday.

Another photo captured Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen linking arms with protesters on Monday to walk down the street.

Confrontations between protesters also arose as some sought to stop looters or those seeking to inflict violence on the police, saying that detracted from their purpose.

Each day marks a new test of how either side will respond amid tense standoffs. 

Demonstrators on Tuesday appeared eager to press forward into another week of demonstrations, with people in New York taking to the streets by mid-afternoon. Protesters in D.C. also gathered by the White House in the afternoon, this time congregating along a newly erected fence on the outskirts of Lafayette Square.

And while the protests during the day appeared peaceful, the question of whether they remain peaceful or turn violent has largely been revealed around nightfall.