PORTLAND (Dispatches) – A year on from George Floyd’s death, tens of thousands of people once again took to the streets to honor the man whose name became a byword for racial injustice.
From his hometown of Minneapolis where thousands marched through the streets, to Atlanta, Georgia, from Brooklyn to the White House: the ripples from a single death at the hands of a police officer continued to be felt strongly.
“It´s been a troubling year, a long year,” Bridgett Floyd told the crowd in downtown Minneapolis. “But we made it.... The love is here. George is here.”
In New York, video footage shared on social media captured the moment an NYPD patrol car knocked over a cyclist amid chaotic scenes near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Concerned onlookers rushed to check if the cyclist was OK. An NYPD spokesman said the man suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention.
A moment of silence to honor Floyd was also held in New York and a rally was held in Los Angeles, Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Houston.
Globally, a rally took place in Germany and Floyd’s death was marked by U.S. embassies in Greece and Spain.
Floyd, 46, who was Black, died May 25, 2020, after then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about 9 1/2 minutes. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and faces sentencing June 25. Three other fired officers still face trial.
Police declared a riot in Oregon’s largest city on Tuesday night after hundreds of people gathered outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland.
The crowd then marched to the nearby Portland City Hall. Police declared the unlawful assembly a riot at around 10 p.m. local time and ordered the crowd to disperse. But the crowd continued marching through the downtown area, blocking traffic in the streets.
Five people, ranging in age from 21 to 30, were booked into jail on various charges, including criminal mischief, riot and arson, police said.
Floyd’s death while saying, “I can’t breathe” in Minnesota sparked widespread outrage, anti-racism protests and calls for police reform across the United States and around the world.
Portland became a national flashpoint in the protest movement. Demonstrations were held in the downtown area for more than 100 consecutive days last year, with many nights ending in violent clashes between protesters and authorities.
Floyd’s sister Bridgett and other family members held a moment of silence at a “Celebration of Life” event at a downtown Minneapolis park. A few miles away, at the site of the intersection where Floyd died, dozens of people kneeled around a steel fist sculpture for several minutes — symbolizing the 9 minutes, 29 seconds during which Floyd was pinned down.
Hours before the Minneapolis festivities, the intersection where
Floyd died was disrupted by gunfire.
Video from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue — informally known as George Floyd Square — showed people running for cover as shots rang out. Police said a man, who they believe was injured in the shooting, went to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound. Police said he was in critical condition but was expected to survive. There were no immediate arrests.
Philip Crowther, a reporter working for AP Global Media Services, which provides live video coverage, reported hearing as many as 30 gunshots about a block from the intersection.
Like other major cities, Minneapolis has been struggling with rising gun violence, a problem made worse, in part, by many officers leaving the embattled force since Floyd’s death. A 6-year-old girl was fatally shot and two other children wounded in recent weeks. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey last week unveiled sweeping public safety proposals aimed at fixing the problem. Other groups are pursuing a more radical remaking of the police department.
On Tuesday evening, activists and demonstrators gathered with some families of people who had died in interactions with the New York Police Department at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They called for defunding the police, holding officers accountable and removing police officers from schools. Following the rally, they set off on a march through Brooklyn streets.