The ninth night of protests over the death of George Floyd came to a relatively peaceful end on Wednesday as crowds in several cities dispersed without aggressive intervention from police enforcing curfews.
In Atlanta, streets that were filled with hundreds of protesters during the day emptied out when a 9pm curfew went into effect.
Similar scenes unfolded in Philadelphia, where the 7pm curfew was accompanied by a sudden rain shower that soaked protesters on their way home.
In Washington, DC, hundreds of people remained on the streets as an 11pm curfew approached and a feeling of anxiety hung in the air between the crowds and a line of troops watching over them in riot gear.
Tensions were higher in New York City, however, as several people were taken into custody and at least one police officer was injured when a scuffle broke out in Brooklyn, where hundreds of people were marching to Cadman Plaza.
But thus far there has been a marked quiet compared with the unrest of the past few nights, which included fires and shootings in some cities while police resorted to forceful tactics including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to break up crowds.
WASHINGTON DC: Protesters hold up their phones during a demonstration as a city-wide 11pm curfew approached
NEW YORK: Scuffles broke out between police and protesters marching in Brooklyn on Wednesday night
ATLANTA: A woman who identified herself as Bork is helped to her feet by police officers after she agreed to stop blocking a street during a protest on Wednesday night after a city-wide curfew went into effect in Atlanta
PHILADELPHIA: Rain showers moved through Philadelphia on Wednesday night, causing protest crowds to disperse
LOS ANGELES: Demonstrators crowd a plaza in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening after a day of peaceful protests
The US has been rocked by over a week of tumult since George Floyd, a black man, was killed in Minneapolis after white police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground by kneeling on his neck on Memorial Day.
Floyd, who was in handcuffs at the time, died after Chauvin ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.
His death, captured on citizen video, has sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that quickly spread to cities across America.
Charges against Chauvin were upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday, and the three other officers at the scene were newly charged with aiding and abetting murder.
However, the news seemed to do little to quell the protests and unrest, which continued for a ninth straight day in dozens of cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.
WASHINGTON DC: US Capitol police kneel as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd at the Capitol on Wednesday after the protesters demanded they take a knee
NEW YORK: Hundreds joined the march near Prospect Park in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday
BOSTON: People take part in a rally following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, on Wednesday
CHICAGO: Demonstrators in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago also marched on Wednesday
LOS ANGELES: Protesters in Los Angeles pass through police lines after negotiating during a demonstration on Wednesday
SEATTLE: Hundreds of people marched through Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on their way to City Hall on Wednesday
In Washington DC, some Capitol Police in charge of protecting Congress took a knee as protesters shouted slogans, similar to other scenes that have played out across the nation.
While many view the gesture as an act of solidarity with peaceful protests, as police join in condemning Floyd’s in-custody death, others have criticized cops who participate as bowing down before protesters.
President Donald Trump waded into the debate on Wednesday morning for the first time, retweeting a message that said New York City police were being forced to ‘bend a knee to terrorists’.
Protesters in DC sent a strong message to police hours later as they lay face-down in front of the Capitol in silence.
Organizers asked them to stay down and stay quiet for the about same amount of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.
In the afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerged from the Capitol building to greet and mingle with the protesters.
At one point the crowd knelt together as they sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and chanted: ‘We are not going anywhere.’
Meanwhile law enforcement officers in riot gear stood watch over the crowd, which stretched down 16th Street near the White House.
Mayor Muriel Bowser moved the citywide curfew back from 7pm to 11pm curfew after a peaceful night of protests on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON DC: Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd as they gather Wednesday on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON DC: A protester demonstrating against the death of George Floyd talks to Capitol Police on the East Front of the US Capitol on Wednesday
WASHINGTON DC: Demonstrators participate in a Black Lives Matter rally as protests continue over the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, outside the US Capitol on Wednesday
WASHINGTON DC:Demonstrators on the East side of the US Capitol in protest the death of George Floyd on Wednesday
WASHINGTON DC: Police gather as the first line to keep demonstrators away from Lafayette Square near the White House
In New York City, the scene of massive protests as well as shocking looting after dark in recent days, the streets were calmed by afternoon rain showers.
However, as the weather cleared by 4pm, several large groups began gathering in Washington Square Park and elsewhere.
One group marched up 5th Avenue toward Central Park.
Storefronts in New York were fortified at new levels of security in fears of violence breaking out after dark, with companies adding razorwire and guard dogs to deter looting.
A large protest march also occurred in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed-Stuy. Some business owners in the neighborhood prepared by putting signs saying ‘black owned’ in their storefront windows.
Meanwhile, city officials expressed hope that an earlier curfew and refined police tactics will bring the city closer to restoring order after days of unrest.
‘Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we’ve had the last few days and moving to a better time,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Gov Andrew Cuomo, who was critical of the police response on prior nights, said the city Tuesday ‘was much, much better than the night before’.
‘It worked. We got results,’ Cuomo said. ‘Let’s just remember what we did last night and keep that going.’
De Blasio rejected President Trump’s urging and Cuomo’s offer to send in the National Guard to quell the unrest, saying the NYPD was best suited for the task and fearing out-of-town Guardsmen unfamiliar with city dynamics could spark confrontations.
Trump warned that if the city didn’t maintain order, he would take the matter into his own hands, though he didn’t say what action he might take.
NEW YORK: In Brooklyn, protesters gathered in Grand Army Plaza on Wednesday afternoon after the skies cleared
NEW YORK: A demonstrator attends a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Brooklyn
NEW YORK: In Manhattan, a group also gathered outside of the Stonewall Inn to protest the death of George Floyd
NEW YORK: People in Manhattan rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd on Wednesday
NEW YORK: People rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Manhattan
In Los Angeles, protesters gathered in Hollywood on Wednesday to voice their discontent.
Hundreds appeared to be peacefully marching near La Cienega Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard.
The demonstrators blocked traffic at the intersection just before 1pm and each got down on one knee and took a moment of silence.
Los Angeles County has ordered another overnight curfew, but it will be four hours shorter.
The curfew will begin at 9pm Wednesday and end at 5am Thursday. Previous curfews ran from 6pm to 6am.
A county statement says officials are assessing public safety needs on a daily basis.
A few municipalities in the sprawling county continue to have stricter curfews. Huge demonstrations in Los Angeles on Tuesday were peaceful, and subsequent arrests were only for curfew violations.
On Wednesday the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that 60 people were facing charges for crimes during protests in the city over the past week.
Most of the charges were for looting, but others include assault and/or battery of a peace officer, robbery, burglary and receiving stolen property.
The district attorney’s office said it expected more charges to be brought later this week.
About 2,700 people were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department between Friday and Monday, Officer Rosario Cervantes told CNN.
It’s unclear how many of those arrests were linked to protests.
LOS ANGELES: Protesters gather at the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard as they prepare to march during a demonstration in West Hollywood
LOS ANGELES: People attend a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Hollywood
LOS ANGELES: California National Guard members stand guard as protesters walk past them at the Hollywood Walk of Fame
LOS ANGELES: People take a knee as they attend a protest in Hollywood, Los Angeles on Wednesday
LOS ANGELES: A protester yells at some police for not wearing masks as protesters pass through police lines in Hollywood
On Chicago’s northwest side, a crowd of early-morning marchers was followed by a procession of honking cars in the Logan Square neighborhood.
The 8am march, which passed near Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home, urged residents to ‘wake up’ to their protest of racial injustice and police brutality.
Organizers with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression called for the creation of a civilian police oversight board.
Chicago Alliance organizer Frank Chapman also demanded that all prisoners be released from prisons.
‘Those are death camps right now, because of COVID-19,’ he said. ‘Free them all!’
CHICAGO: Organizers with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression led the early morning march
CHICAGO: The 8am march, which passed near Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home, urged residents to ‘wake up’ to their protest of racial injustice and police brutality
CHICAGO: The Chicago protesters took a knee in an intersection to make their voices heard
In Boston, a large group gathered at the Boston Common on Wednesday afternoon.
National Guardsmen and hundreds of police officers were on hand to maintain order.
Organizers called for the event to remain peaceful.
‘Massachusetts needs to let America know we do not stand for racism!’ organizers said in a Facebook post. ‘We need to show support for our fellow Americans and honor human life.’
The organizers said the event would end at 5.30pm, noting the city has a recommended curfew of 9pm due to the coronavirus pandemic.
BOSTON: People at Boston Common take part in a protest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd
BOSTON: People hold up their hands during a protest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd
BOSTON: A demonstrator in Boston uses a megaphone during a protest on Boston Common on Wednesday
In Philadelphia, hundreds of people marched nearly two miles from City Hall to Temple University in sweaty 80 degree weather.
They reached their final destination and remained there up until a city-wide 6pm curfew went into effect and organizers encouraged them to go home.
It came as Philadelphia authorities announced that they had arrested a 25-year-old man who may be connected to a string of explosions at 50 ATM machines since Monday.
The state attorney general said the explosions were part of a coordinated effort to steal the machines or take the money inside.
The man arrested is accused of selling homemade dynamite on the streets with instructions on how to use it on ATMs, though authorities aren’t yet sure whether he is connected to the coordinated effort.
One theft resulted in the death of a 24-year-old man hours after he tried to break into an ATM early Tuesday, authorities said.
PHILADELPHIA: Protesters in the City of Brotherly Love marched from City Hall to Temple University on Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA: Protesters gathered outside the 26th District Police station in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood on Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA: Protesters pray outside the 26th District Police station in Fishtown during a demonstration on Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA: The protest outside the 26th District Police station dispersed when heavy rain hit the area
PHILADELPHIA: Authorities arrested a man who may be linked to a string of explosions at ATMs amid Philadelphia protests
In Seattle, a crowd of protesters descended on City Hall, where police holding batons formed lines behind metal barricades.
The demonstrators carried ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs and called for cutting the police department’s budget and shifting the money to social programs.
They chanted for officers to remove their riot gear and knelt or sat together as they surrounded the building.
There’s been increasing criticism of the repeated use of tear gas and flash-bangs by Seattle police to disperse mostly peaceful crowds.
Mayor Jenny Durkan met with protest leaders in City Hall before meeting with demonstrators outside for a second straight day.
City Attorney Peter Holmes noted that citizens had filed some 12,000 complaints over the police department´s handling of the protests.
SEATTLE: Protesters descended on Seattle’s City Hall, where police holding batons formed lines behind barricades
SEATTLE: The demonstrators carried ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs and called for cutting the police department’s budget and shifting the money to social programs
SEATTLE: Protesters chanted for officers to remove their riot gear and knelt or sat together as they surrounded City Hall
In Montgomery, Alabama, a large group of demonstrators gathered at the state capitol building.
The large group marched from the Legacy Museum to the statehouse, where they gathered on the steps to protest against police brutality.
They called for change and reconciliation. People of all ages and races, and members of the clergy were present.
ALABAMA: A Black Lives Matter protest march to the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery on Wednesday
ALABAMA: Marches stroll past a Rosa Parks historic maker on their way to the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery
ALABAMA: The large group marched from the Legacy Museum to the statehouse, where they gathered on the steps to protest
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest for now, despite President Donald Trump’s threats to militarize America’s response to mass protests.
Trump said this week he could use military forces in states that fail to crack down on sometimes violent protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
‘The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,’ Esper told a news briefing.
‘I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.’
Esper’s news conference did not go over well with either the president or his top aides, an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
To deploy the military on US soil for law enforcement purposes, Trump would need to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act – something last done in 1992 in response to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
IDAHO: ‘We are not counter-protesters, we’re just going to make sure Coeur d’Alene is safe’ says Conrad Nelsen of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as he holds the flag while standing next to armed citizen Dan Carson, left, during a protest Tuesday
MISSOURI: Victoria Ezeufu raises her arms as she leads protesters down a highway Wednesday in St. Charles. Ezeufu helped organize the protest attended by several hundred people to speak out against the death of George Floyd
NEW JERSEY: Protesters take part in March for Peace in response to the death of George Floyd, in Vineland on Wednesday
OHIO: Protesters walk with the Cleveland Heights police during a rally on Wednesday protesting the death of George Floyd
ARIZONA: Protesters rally Wednesday in Phoenix, demanding that the City Council defund the Phoenix Police Department
MICHIGAN: Protesters march after a rally in Detroit, Wednesday over the death of George Floyd, a black man
On Wednesday, the National Guard of Washington, DC, launched an investigation into claims that the Trump administration ordered a military helicopter to fly low as a ‘show of force’ against George Floyd protesters near the White House.
The helicopter, normally designated for use in medical evacuations, hovered low enough to create a deafening noise and spray protesters with rotor wash on Monday.
On Wednesday, the commanding general of the DC Guard, Maj Gen William Walker, said in a statement that he directed the investigation.
The investigation comes as the federal government has promised to maximize its law enforcement presence in the nation’s capital.
WASHINGTON DC: The National Guard of Washington, DC, is investigating the use of one of its helicopters (left and right) to make a ‘show of force’ against George Floyd protesters near the White House
WASHINGTON DC: Two Defense Department officials said the Trump administration had ordered military aircraft to fly above Washington on Monday night as a ‘show of force’ against demonstrators
Scores of heavily-armed federal officers in tactical gear have been on the district’s streets for days, after demonstrators set fires, broke store windows and stole items from the shelves and left police officers injured.
The Trump administration has made an effort to show a use of force in Washington. Hours before a 7pm curfew on Tuesday, cars were being stopped at military checkpoints downtown, and a cavalry of armored military vehicles could be seen driving through the district.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said the administration had floated the idea of taking over the Metropolitan Police Department, a proposal she strongly rejected. She threatened to take legal action if the federal government attempted to do so.
Two Defense Department officials said the administration had ordered military aircraft to fly above Washington on Monday night as a ‘show of force’ against demonstrators.