Protests Continue Coast to Coast as Cities Seek to Impose Order
By Gene Maddaus
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Cities across the country declared curfews on Sunday night as protests continued over the death of George Floyd.
In Minneapolis, where the protests began last week, a curfew was declared from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. In that city, a semi driver was arrested Sunday after plowing into a crowd of protesters on a bridge. None of the protesters was injured.
Los Angeles County instituted a countywide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. — a dramatic expansion of the curfew zone on Saturday night. All courthouses in the county were also ordered closed on Monday. Throughout the afternoon, looters targeted stores in Long Beach and Santa Monica, where a commercial building was on fire. Elsewhere in Santa Monica, a mostly peaceful protest was held on Montana Avenue.
New York City did not impose a curfew, as protesters moved throughout the city and crowded onto several bridges. Atlanta reimposed a curfew at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a statewide curfew for a full week, following looting in Scottsdale.
At least five people have died in the protests so far around the country, according to a tally by the Washington Post.
The National Guard was activated in 15 states, including California, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Minnesota, as well as the District of Colombia.
In Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a curfew beginning at 11 p.m. Several fires were burning in that city, including a fire that was doused at in the lobby of the AFL-CIO building, which is across the street from the Motion Picture Association.
Floyd died on Monday after Officer Derek Chauvin pinned him by the neck for nearly nine minutes, while Floyd was handcuffed. Video of the scene, which followed the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, sparked outrage across the country and around the world.
On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter . He is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday. Chauvin and three other officers on scene were quickly fired, but the other three have not been charged.
In a preliminary report, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office said there is no physical evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation. Instead, the report indicated that he likely died of a combination of the police restraint, underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertension, and possibly intoxication.
Floyd’s family has disputed that conclusion , saying they will seek an independent autopsy. The family attorney, Ben Crump, has suggested that the coroner’s office may be trying to create a “false narrative” of Floyd’s death.
Gov. Tim Walz said on Sunday that the case will now be handled by Attorney General Keith Ellison. The family had earlier requested that Ellison be put in charge of the case, following complaints that the Hennepin County attorney had taken too long to file charges in the case.