Weekend protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis brought out some of the worst in the nation’s cops.
Social media and television were flooded this weekend with video and reports of police aggression against protesters, journalists, and even politicians. Video footage showed cops tear-gassing peaceful protesters, pepper-spraying people, beating and shoving people, and even driving vehicles into them.
Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Democrat from Ohio, was pepper-sprayed after trying to de-escalate tensions between protesters and police and warning a Columbus police officer, “Don’t excite them.”
“Too much force is not the answer to this,” Beatty said in a video posted on Twitter.
Driving police vehicles through crowds
In Brooklyn, video captured on Saturday showed a police SUV pushed up against a barrier of people. As another police SUV went around it, both accelerated forward and knocked over protesters. After the video went viral, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio refused to condemn the cops, saying they were in an “impossible situation.”
In Los Angeles, a similar incident was captured on video, where a police SUV accelerated into a small group of protesters, then reversed and sped away.
Rampant use of force
Videos of cops shoving and attacking non-threatening protesters flooded social media this weekend. One of the most egregious was an incident where two black college students were tased and yanked out of their car in Atlanta. Two of the officers involved were fired and three others were placed on desk duty.
A video in Detroit showed officers shoving a man to the ground and yelling at unarmed, nonviolent protesters.
A video purportedly taken on Saturday night in Denver showed a police officer firing pepper bullets at someone who’s filming, apparently causing the phone to explode in his face.
In Seattle, an officer was filmed kneeling on a protester’s neck while arresting him, the same tactic which led to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
And in New York on Saturday, a cop was filmed ripping a mask off of a protester who had his hands up, and then pepper spraying him in the face.
The New York Police Department said on Sunday that its internal affairs department was reviewing about six incidents from the past four days.
Police firing at people on their property
As curfews were instituted around the country, police officers were caught on video firing at people peacefully standing outside their homes or businesses. One video in particular showed police in Minneapolis firing paint canisters at people who were on their porches with no warning other than orders to get inside and one officer announcing, “Light ‘em up!”
In Raleigh, North Carolina, cops fired nonlethal rounds at the owner of a queer bar who was standing outside his business, even after he shouted several times that it was his business. “The game is over,” one officer screamed.
Attacking and arresting journalists
In Minneapolis, VICE News reporter Michael Anthony Adams was thrown to the ground and pepper sprayed in the face, even after shouting repeatedly that he was a member of the press.
On Friday, cops shot pepper bullets at a Louisville TV news crew with no apparent warning.
At least a dozen journalists were injured during protests this weekend, according to the Washington Post. Photographer Linda Tirado was blinded in one eye when she was shot with a rubber bullet by a Minneapolis police officer.
Cover: Smoke rises near a row of police in riot gear near the 5th police precinct during a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020.. (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)