Police, Protesters Clash In Brooklyn As Tensions Flare Past Curfew

Police clash with protesters
Photo credit Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Protesters demanding justice for George Floyd peacefully made their way through Brooklyn Wednesday before things reportedly turned violent after the 8 p.m. curfew.

Earlier in the afternoon, demonstrators gathered at Barclays Center, where video posted to Twitter showed people chanting at police to take a knee or quit their jobs.

The New York Times reports police stopped a number of demonstrators in Cadman Plaza Park after the group tried to make its way to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was closed to traffic.

According to the Times, after a long stalemate police tried to push the group back.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was with the group and posted a live video to his Twitter, showing police cars surrounding protesters.

As rain poured over the crowd, some scattered away as officers started using batons against the group and started to pen some of them in, he explains in a video.

"I can't believe what I just witnessed and experienced. The force used on nonviolent protesters was disgusting. No looting/no fires. Chants of 'peaceful protest,'" Williams tweeted.

The public advocate said the NYPD was “enforcing an ill-advised curfew” and said he was “ashamed” of Mayor Bill de Blasio over the response.

"These are the type of actions I’d expect from past administrations, maybe the current White House, not a mayor who came into office pledging to reform the type of aggressive policing I experienced tonight," Williams said in another tweet.

In the video, Williams demanded officers tell him why they had started to pen in protesters.

One officer said it was to prevent them from moving forward saying, “they can go back that way.”

The area eventually cleared out.

Chief of Department Terence Monahan explained that the aggressive approach was necessary to clear the space, the Time reports.

“When we have these big crowds, especially in this area, especially where we’ve had the looting, no more tolerance,” he told reporters in Manhattan, where similar action was taken to disperse a large group following a day of peaceful protests.. “They have to be off the street. An 8 o’clock curfew, we gave them to 9 o’clock, and there was no indication that they were going to leave these streets.”

At least 60 protest-related arrests were reported Wednesday night in the city.

Despite the late night scuffle, protests were mostly calm all day as thousands took to the street to call for police reform.

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