Protesters converged in Brooklyn and Manhattan on Sunday night to decry the death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, with demonstrators denouncing acts of racism and police brutality across the country.
Nearly a thousand individuals had walked from Union Square — the site of a chaotic evening Saturday — to Bryant Park in Manhattan.
Over a thousand more people gathered outside Barclays Center, where more than 200 protesters were arrested during a bloody clash with police last Friday night. Sunday night’s demonstration was relatively tame compared to previous nights — although officers still made several arrests, and tensions remained high.
Less than a mile down Flatbush Avenue, hordes of protesters held another major gathering at Grand Army Plaza — where people also gathered on Saturday.
Sunday marked the third straight evening of demonstrations across Brooklyn, and follows days of riots in major cities across America.
On Sunday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the creation of his “Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity,” where two people — Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson and Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett — will conduct an “independent review” of the NYPD’s conduct in handling the weekend’s demonstrations, with initial findings expected sometime in June.
“There are many things that I can tell you that I think were done right by the NYPD,” said de Blasio. “But there also were mistakes and there were individual actions that must be fully investigated and that must lead to accountability.”
The creation of that two-person panel comes amid widespread criticism that the Police Department used unnecessary force — including when a cop car plowed into a group of protestors near Flatbush and Sixth avenues, and an officer aggressively pushed a woman on to the ground, hospitalizing her.
De Blasio remarked throughout the night on the relative calm at demonstrations in Brooklyn.
Went back to Barclays. Lots of protesters spread out in smaller groups
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 1, 2020
However, not everyone agreed with de Blasio’s assessment of the situation, with critics demanding he do more to stop the tensions — including Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who didn’t mince words with Hizzoner’s rosy evaluation of the protest.
What?! You aren’t seeing the same thing as everyone else tonight!
— Corey Johnson (@CoreyinNYC) June 1, 2020
Sunday’s protests were widely shared on various social media platforms, where people on the ground shared their own experiences at the demonstrations.
Beautiful! A large march has just arrived at the Barclays Center to join the rally, and the energy is electric.
Well over 1,000 Brooklynites here now. #BlackLivesMatter #DefundTheNYPD pic.twitter.com/FmVpZcFL3g
— Daniel Altschuler 🦋 (@altochulo) May 31, 2020
Big BLM chant at Barclays, protests night 4 in NYC pic.twitter.com/JFYtVwMUYl
— Emma Whitford (@emma_a_whitford) May 31, 2020
Stopped into Barclays Center protest. Peaceful right now. Speeches, sogns. Everybody except NYPD in masks. People driving by honking support. Energy is more community-like than angry (though anger is present too.)
— Ethan Hein (@ethanhein) May 31, 2020
Here’s a disturbing video of the moment people started getting hit — really hit — and arrested. Unclear what set it all off. I ran over to video. This is when I was hit after trying to identify myself. Really nuts moments at Barclays earlier this evening. pic.twitter.com/4y1FZZY6TM
— Noah Goldberg (@Noah__Goldberg) June 1, 2020
At about 7 pm, demonstrators marched from Barclays Center to Prospect Park, walking east on Atlantic Avenue and closing a lane of traffic. And only a half an hour later, another group began marching down Atlantic Avenue the opposite way. Some crowds made their way over the Manhattan Bridge where more protests occurred, while others reconvened near Barclays Center closer to midnight.