The New York City Police Department continued its crackdown on Wednesday night by arresting more than 180 people across the city after the 8pm curfew went into effect.
At around 9pm, officers began moving in on crowds of demonstrators in Manhattan and Brooklyn, at times blasting people with pepper spray or using batons to shove those who didn’t move fast enough.
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan warned there will be ‘no more tolerance’ for curfew violators as the department moves to restore order on the streets following four nights of chaos and violence that left businesses across the city ransacked and vandalized.
In Brooklyn, however, a cop was stabbed in what police are calling an orchestrated attack.
Protests over the death of George Floyd had continued for a sixth day on Wednesday, but strict curfew enforcement, drenching rain and refined police tactics appeared to have stopped some of the destruction of previous nights.
Some critics however, said the calm came at a high price, as the city was forced to grind to a halt at 8pm, bridges were closed to traffic, and police arrested dozens of orderly people for violating the curfew.
Chief Monahan said while most people dispersed after arrests began, police were forced to take action on those who refused, moving in on crowds just before the heavy rain began.
‘When we have these big crowds, especially in this area, especially where we’ve had the looting, no more tolerance. They have to be off the street,’ he said on Wednesday.
‘An 8 o’clock curfew, we gave them until 9 o’clock, and there was no indication that they were going to leave these streets.’
City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who attended a rally in downtown Brooklyn, expressed outrage that peaceful demonstrations were broken up after cops began physically pushing protesters out.
‘I can’t believe what I just witnessed & experienced,’ Williams wrote on Twitter, calling the use of force on nonviolent protesters ‘disgusting.’
He also shared a video taken outside Brooklyn Borough Hall where he was heard questioning cops’ heavy-handed tactics on participants of a peaceful demonstration.
‘There’s no looting, there’s no fires, why are we pushing everyone?’ he says.
Footage shared by journalist Zach Williams showed further police clashes with protesters in Brooklyn as they tried to clear out the area.
Cops were seen urging crowds of people to move out, at times stopping to make an arrest or to use their baton to push protesters along.
When one demonstrator asked an officer why he was being taken into custody, an Associated Press reporter heard the officer reply: ‘Curfew violator. You didn’t hear the news?’
At least one NYPD officer was injured when a scuffle broke out between police and protesters marching to Cadman Plaza after dark.