by Oleg Burunov
The US has been swept by a wave of violent protests against racism and police brutality since late May, when a black former convict, George Floyd, died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Protests-turned-riots have erupted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists took to the streets, demanding “justice” for a knife-wielding African-American man who was shot and killed by a local police officer on Sunday.
The reportedly autistic black man was identified as 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz amid reports that his dead body was “visible on the ground for more than two hours”.
Eyes are on Lancaster, PA as protests continue into the night.
LPD released body cam footage of the shooting in the last hour. https://t.co/I3xCf9wy5H
— Amanda Mueller WBOY 12 News (@AmandaMuellerTV) September 14, 2020
Police declared an unlawful assembly and fired tear gas to disperse protesters who flooded to the police station in the southwest of Lancaster, chanting “Don’t shoot” and other BLM slogans.
LANCASTER: BLM riots kick off in Lancaster, PA after an officer involved shooting of a man armed with a knife
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) September 14, 2020
Police shot and killed an autistic man in Lancaster, PA today and left his body uncovered for hours. People are protesting outside the police HQ now.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) September 14, 2020
[Lancaster, PA] Borderline peaceful protests turn into violent riots – police declare the assembly illegal https://t.co/vdKEn3l4St
— HINDLE (@HindlesKitchen) September 14, 2020
The Lancaster Bureau of Police, for its part, said that the incident had occurred after they responded to a domestic disturbance on the 300 block of Laurel Street at 4:15 on Sunday afternoon.
“While they’re conducting the criminal investigation, we’re going to be conducting our administrative personnel investigation to make sure that policy and training and use of force was properly followed”, bureau chief Jarrad Berkihiser said, in an apparent reference to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office probe.
The office earlier released body cam footage from the incident, which showed Munoz running toward a police officer with a knife above his head in a threatening manner, something that was then followed by the policeman firing at the 27-year-old.
Warning: The following video is graphic and may offend sensibilities
#BREAKING @Lancaster_DA release body cam video from todays fatal Officer involved shooting. Video shows 27 year old Ricardo Munoz running toward an officer with a knife above his head before being shot *GRAPHIC* . @CBSPhilly #LancasterPA pic.twitter.com/ERXKhNijMh
— Joshua Crompton (@PhillyNewsGuy) September 14, 2020
The Lancaster riots come after massive protests broke out in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha and across the US in late August following the police shooting of an unarmed 29-year-old black man convicted of sexual assault, Jacob Blake, who currently remains paralysed below the waist.
In May, George Floyd, an African-American man who had served time for a home invasion, was killed by a white police officer while in custody in Minneapolis, sparking massive demonstrations around the US, some of which turned violent and resulted in arson, looting, and clashes with heavily armed police.