Police Unleash Violence Against Protesters In Weekend of American Revolt

As demonstrators protest police brutality, officers around the country have been using excessive force against them, and against some people who were not even part of the protests.

Getty Images/Police detain a protester during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd have erupted over the past week, morphing into widespread civil unrest across the country. Police have been responding violently towards demonstrators — many of whom have been protesting peacefully — by using rubber bullets, pepper spray, and batons while dressed in riot gear.

Some mayors enacted city-wide curfews, and other states deployed the National Guard as protests evolved into chaos, with buildings being set on fire and stores being vandalized and looted. 

In Minneapolis, where Floyd died after being choked by an officer, many reported instances of excessive force. 

Footage shared on Saturday shows MPD officers and members of the National Guard sweeping a residential street and firing paint canisters at people’s homes, while yelling “light ‘em up.” 

A Minneapolis nurse, who was treating a patient with a rubber bullet wound, said that officers stormed the medical tent she was working in and shot at the medical staff. 

Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske also said on Saturday that Minneapolis officers sprayed tear gas at reporters and photographers covering the protests at point blank range. 

In New York, police were criticized for excessive force in several instances over the weekend, including ramming two NYPD SUVs into protesting crowds and attacking a non-resistant medic who was in uniform. 

Footage of the SUVs driving into crowds sparked outrage from activists and elected officials, who accused NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio of not holding police accountable. Gov. Cuomo called for the state’s attorney general to launch an investigation.

In Atlanta, footage captured on Friday shows officers instigating violence during a protest.

Two Atlanta officers were also fired over the weekend for using a Taser on two college students who were leaving a protest. During a Sunday press conference, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms confirmed that the officers, who had claimed they used such force because they thought the students were armed, will be terminated.  

Officers in Salt Lake City shoved an elderly man with a cane to the ground while dispersing demonstrators. Meanwhile, police in Louisville were filmed destroying cartons of milk and bottles of water that protesters had brought in case they were hit with pepper spray or tear gas. 

Police in Denver were also filmed firing pepper bullets and tear gas at cars stopped at an intersection.

According to a Washington Post report and recorded audio, President Trump demanded during a Monday conference call that governors use force against protesters, or else they “would look like fools.”

“If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” Trump reportedly continued on the call.

Based on a count compiled by The Associated Press, more than 4,400 protest-related arrests have been made across the country for offenses like stealing and looting, blocking highways, and breaking curfew.

Last Friday, a CNN reporter and crew were arrested on live television while reporting on the Minneapolis unrest. Los Angeles Times reporter Sammy Roth said over the weekend that journalists are facing unprecedented levels of aggression during the protests.