Violent factions attacked police officers across the U.S. over the last 24 hours as demonstrations against the death of an unarmed black man in police custody have spiraled out of control.
George Floyd, 46, died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was caught on video kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed on Memorial Day. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder, but three other officers who also took part in the brutality or watched on have been fired but not arrested for their role, prompting anger among the demonstrators.
In Las Vegas, an officer responding to a looting incident was reportedly shot in the head early Tuesday after exchanging gunfire with an angry mob, according to several Nevada news sources. County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the officer survived. “He is in extremely critical condition on life support,” Lombardo said “This is a sad night for our LVMPD family and a tragic night for our community.”
Two police officers in Richmond, Virginia, and a third person were reportedly shot during clashes early Tuesday morning. Their condition is unclear.
Late Monday night, video of a police officer apparently being run over by an SUV in the Bronx went viral. In the video, which has not been verified by The Daily Beast, an officer is struck by a speeding SUV and left in the middle of an intersection. Moments later, a New York City Police Department vehicle arrives and puts the officer, whose condition is unknown, in the back.
In Buffalo, two officers were deliberately targeted by a car in front of the E District police station. New York State Police confirmed to the media that one was a trooper and the other a Buffalo Police officer. Both were taken to the Erie County Medical Center. Both have serious injuries and are in stable condition, according to WTHR News.
Posts on social media also captured a fallen officer on Madison Avenue in New York. Details and the circumstances of that officer’s condition are unknown.
The New York City Sergeant’s Benevolent Association tweeted a photo of an officer being attacked by two looters in the Bronx late Monday night. The officer survived that incident and pulled his weapon after the perpetrators ran off, but did not appear to retaliate.
Early Monday morning, another officer was rammed by an SUV as he tried to make an arrest after giving chase to looters. Video of that incident posted by New York Daily News shows an SUV with Wisconsin license plates speeding away after the hit and run. That officer was taken to Bellevue Hospital and remains in stable condition.
Elsewhere, four police officers were shot in downtown St. Louis after a gunfight erupted as they tried to disperse violent crowds with tear gas and flash bangs.
Largely peaceful protests have been held in all 50 states, but violent rioters and looters have moved in as night falls even as curfews are in effect. Thousands of National Guard soldiers who have been called up to bolster local law enforcement have also been involved in skirmishes.
In some cases, police have acted aggressively towards peaceful protesters. Over the weekend, a New York City Police Department squad vehicle rammed into a group and on Monday, law enforcement in Washington, D.C. used teargas to scatter peaceful protesters to clear a space for President Donald Trump to take a photo in front of a defaced church.
Police have also marched with peaceful protesters and in cities including New York, Portland and Philadelphia, where many have taken a knee against police brutality.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City will be subject to an 8 p.m. curfew throughout the week. He said 700 people were arrested Monday night—the highest numbers since the protests started last week.
“We will not tolerate violence of any kind. We will not tolerate attacks on police officers. We will not tolerate hatred being created,” de Blasio said. “We saw vicious attacks on police officers. That is wholly unacceptable. That does not represent the people of this city. Anyone who attacks a police officer attacks all of us.”