During a third night of nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man in Minneapolis, New York City protesters gathered at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The demonstrations started peacefully at 6pm, but ended in clashes between protesters and the police. The photos in the above slideshow were taken from 6pm to 9pm; as of publication around midnight, altercations between demonstrators and police were ongoing throughout Brooklyn.
The first hours of the protest were largely comprised of protesters holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe,” and depicted the image of George Floyd, who died after officer Derek Chauvin held a knee to Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes on Monday night. Organizers discussed the third-degree murder charges leveled against Chauvin on Friday afternoon, and lauded the efforts of the protesters and organizers. Police surrounded the area, packed into the side streets around Barclays Center.
Around 7pm, however, the scene began to turn violent. Police advanced on protesters, pushing them out of the street and onto the sidewalks. Protesters closest to the entrance of Barclays Center were pushed back with riot gear, shields, and billy clubs, and some were tear-gassed. Protesters streamed out of the crowd, their faces and clothes covered in what appeared to be tear gas, water, and milk, which helps treat the burns. Demonstrators throughout the crowd held both hands in the air, in the universal “Don’t shoot” symbol.
As police advanced on protesters from the doors of the Barclays Center, additional ranks closed in on the crowd from behind. As they advanced on defiant sign-holders, officers played a recording over loudspeakers strapped to their chests. “This assembly is unlawful, if you do not disperse you will be subject to arrest,” the recordings announced.
Smoke and apparent tear gas billowed from the center of the protest, and officers launched flares to clear people from the streets. The NYPD began detaining people at an increased rate, with teams of as many as seven officers wrestling people to the ground. Protesters screamed and called for their colleagues’ release, but police continued pushing protesters south on Flatbush Avenue, towards Prospect Park.
By nightfall, a police car had been briefly lit on fire, and the window of a police SUV smashed on Fifth Avenue. Protesters began to disperse, challenging the NYPD in the streets branching off of Barclay’s Center. The violence rapidly spread throughout the borough. Protesters advanced on the 88th Precinct at Classon and DeKalb Avenues, and a tweet from Myles N. Miller of NBC News showed a police van on fire. The footage also showed at least 4 people being led away from the precinct in a handcuff chain.
“We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn. Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don’t ever want to see another night like this,” he tweeted.