NYC braces: George Floyd protesters ignore earlier curfew, NYPD enforce new roadblocks

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By Michael Ruiz-Fox News

Tense moments followed New York City’s 8 p.m. curfew Tuesday night after authorities took measures to reduce violence, vandalism and looting after days of protests.

City leaders had braced for another night of demonstrations, bolstering their presence and enforcing an even earlier curfew than the one implemented Monday.

The city, like others around the country, has been rocked by protests over the death of George Floyd, which happened in Minneapolis on May 25 while he was in police custody.

In an effort to slow any potential violence, authorities moved the city’s curfew to 8 p.m. Tuesday and warned residents that only buses, delivery trucks and the vehicles of essential workers will be allowed south of 96th Street after that time. The NYPD also canceled regular days off for “all full duty uniformed members,” according to a police memo.

Still, thousands of protesters remained in the streets hours after the new curfew, even as police enforced new roadblocks.

As part of the enhanced measures, police installed checkpoints on the streets to block unauthorized vehicles. In some places, as protesters continued to march into the night, there was relative calm. But evidence of vandalism was once again visible in some parts of the city.

A group of marchers was arrested on the West Side Highway after the 8 p.m. curfew, the New York Post reported, but videos from elsewhere in the city continued to show large crowds into the night.

One video from Times Square showed large crowds of people still gathered in the street nearly two hours after the curfew. Most wore masks, any many of them seemed to be standing around.

People periodically left the crowd and walked out of view of the camera until a larger group began to walk out of the area. Other video taken nearby showed crowds moving down the street.

Pockets of unrest flared up here and there, according to local reports.

Around 9 p.m., hundreds of marchers busted up a Verizon store at Fulton Street and Broadway — near City Hall — the Daily News reported. The crowd allegedly moved down Canal Street and returned to Broadway, smashing windows along the way.

Around the same time, at least five people, two of them NYPD officers, were injured in a police-involved shooting in Brooklyn, according to ABC 7. It was not immediately clear whether the gunfire was connected in any way to the protests.

Other videos showed a tense face-off between a chanting crowd and police officers outside a school and police arresting about a dozen protesters in front of a bank.

About a half hour before curfew time, thousands of protesters made their way toward Trump Tower in Manhattan. Fox News’ Bryan Llenas, who was reporting from the sidelines, shared videos of the scenes on Twitter.

They showed a heavy police presence with uniformed officers and steel fencing installed in an effort to minimize looting and violence.

“So far in NYC, it is a completely different night,” than the night before, he tweeted at 8:40.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis saw arrests in the city’s SoHo neighborhood and broken windows at a Manhattan Gap store, but she also said things appeared to be calmer than they were earlier in the week.

And across the East River, as a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn approached the Manhattan Bridge at around 8:30 p.m., police blocked them off, as seen in a photo taken by Fox News science editor James Rogers.

A day earlier, protests raged — turning violent in some places with reports of looting, vandalism and even attacks on police officers. Since Saturday, the NYPD had reported about 500 burglary arrests. The majority of the suspects have already been released due to local bail reform laws.

“Each day, our officers leave their own families and homes to protect yours, while being shot at, having Molotov cocktails thrown into their vehicles and getting intentionally struck by cars,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted Tuesday. “They put their very lives on the line to fulfill the oath they took to ensure public safety.”

He was referring to an incident in which protesters allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail into an NYPD vehicle.

Other confrontations over the past few days have involved officers being struck by hit-and-run drivers and being pelted with objects ranging from water bottles to bricks.

“I’ve got to be honest. I can’t take it. It’s so, so bad,” said Pat Brosnan, a former NYPD detective, speaking with Ed Henry on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday.

A video shared on the Sergeants Benevolent Association’s (SBA’s) official Twitter account showed an NYPD officer being beaten by a group of men in the Bronx as onlookers shout profanities.

Critics of the city’s handling of the protests have excoriated Mayor Bill de Blasio as city officials and police try to restore the peace.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, called de Blasio’s response to the crisis a “disgrace” on Tuesday, after police said they arrested about 700 protesters overnight following the first curfew in decades, which began at 11 p.m.

He also said that de Blasio had refused assistance from the National Guard, which the mayor said would be unnecessary.

“We do not need, nor do we think it is wise for the National Guard to be in New York City. Nor any armed forces,” he told a reporter Tuesday. “When outside armed forces go into communities, no good comes of it.”

In a video posted to the New York City Police Benevolent Association’s Twitter, PBA President Patrick Lynch called on the mayor to give police officers more support and allow them to do their jobs.

“Roving gangs running up and down the street, under the guise of protests — when it’s 12 o’clock at night, it’s not a protest, it’s a riot — it’s looting,” he said. “The mayor has to say now, ‘It stops today.'”

President Trump, addressing the protests, wrote on Twitter that New York City “was ripped to pieces.”

Protesters were already out in force early Tuesday evening, marching and chanting slogans ranging from “Hands up, don’t shoot” to anti-police slurs.

Within two hours of the 8 p.m. curfew, thousands of peaceful protesters gathered in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. They eventually took a turn toward Trump Tower, which police and Secret Service officers had barricaded off, before some in the crowd began dispersing.

Fox News’ Greg Norman, Bryan Llenas and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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