The young daughter of George Floyd and her mother have made their first public appearance, as protests defied a sweeping curfew to turn out in force across the US on Tuesday.
Roxie Washington spoke at a press conference in Minneapolis of the devastating impact of the death of Floyd, an African-American who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck as he pleaded for air and stopped moving. Her six-year-old daughter Gianna, stood alongside her.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from …” Washington said while holding back sobs, her daughter looking up at her. “At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.”
“I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George, because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks,” she said, pointing down to her daughter. “And this is the proof that he was a good man.”
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators demanding justice for Floyd and an end to police brutality remained on New York City streets on Tuesday night, despite a new week-long curfew announced by the mayor, Bill de Blasio, in an effort to bring an end to the chaos.
In New York City, protesters marched for hours north through Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, waving signs as they made the six-mile journey from One Police Plaza, in lower Manhattan, to the Upper East Side.
The city has extended an 8pm to 5am curfew all week and banned much of Manhattan car traffic overnight as officials struggled to stanch destruction, after chaotic scenes and looting erupted again overnight.
Many remained on the streets as curfew hit, marching primarily in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Thousands were temporarily blockaded on the Manhattan Bridge by police, with protesters from Brooklyn saying they waited at the barricades for more than two hours to try to enter Manhattan.
Police “promised to let us through and told us 10 minutes”, said one Brooklyn resident, who asked not to be identified. “But then time passed and all they did was get lots of NYPD trucks. Their promise was not to let us through but to manipulate citizens for no reason.”
“It was an incredibly peaceful protest, no one did anything divisive or provocative,” said Hannah Jayanti, a Brooklyn resident who had taken her bicycle to the protest to help create a barrier between the police and protesters. At midnight, there were still protesters stuck in either borough attempting to get home.
“We’re going to have a tough few days. We’re going to beat it back,” De Blasio said.
On the eighth day of nationwide demonstrations, Floyd’s hometown of Houston held a memorial march that drew tens of thousands.
Floyd’s family was in attendance, alongside the mayor, the police chief and a group of protesters on horseback, with attendees paying respects to a “gentle giant”.
The memorial march was organized by the well-known Houston rappers Trae Tha Truth, who was a longtime friend of Floyd’s, and Bun B, who worked with Floyd’s family for the event. “We’re gonna represent him right,” Trae Tha Truth told the crowd of several hundred gathered for the march. “We are gonna tear the system from the inside out.”
De Blasio calls on Cuomo to apologize for ‘disgraceful’ criticism of NYPD
Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday called on Gov. Cuomo to apologize to the NYPD for making “disgraceful” comments criticizing the force.
“He dishonored the men and women of the NYPD in an absolutely inappropriate way for any leader to do,” Hizzoner said on 1010 Wins. “Any elected official who blames the NYPD while they were out there fighting in the streets to restore order, protect people — that’s disgraceful.”
“He owes an apology to 36,000 hardworking men and women who have been putting their lives on the line for all of us,” de Blasio added.
After a night of chaos in New York City, Cuomo said Tuesday: “The police in New York City were not effective in doing their job last night. Period.”
NYPD chief Terence Monahan claims Cuomo has apologised for criticism.
He said an earlier curfew helped take out of neighborhoods “people who didn’t belong there” and that officers had allowed peaceful protests to continue beyond 8pm. He said those who had broken off from the main groups “looking to cause mayhem” had been rapidly dealt with.
He also responded to criticism from Governor Andrew Cuomo, saying that he should never call his officers ineffective, and said that last night “[Cuomo’s] office called and apologised to me” and said the Cuomo had called the commissioner directly to apologise.