The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, called for calm this Friday after the protests that have taken place in the city in response to the death in Minneapolis of the African-American citizen George Floyd at the hands of a policeman, and that on Thursday led to a violent demonstration in Manhattan in which about 70 people were arrested.
“To all who are protesting, please, even though you are expressing your pain and anger and that feeling that there is something wrong and that it must be fixed, remember how important it is to protest peacefully,” said de Blasio in a brief press conference, in which New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also participated.
The mayor also asked citizens to remember that “we are in the midst of a pandemic” and urged them to do “everything possible to protect each other”: “Everyone has a responsibility”.
He also stressed that the New York Police have received “clear instructions” to respect the peaceful protests, and asked the protesters to direct their anger “against the government”: “They are angry with the leaders you have chosen, so direct all that anger against all of us. ”
For her part, Shea said thousands of police officers have been deployed to New York City to cover the current events and protests that are scheduled for this Friday.
“Our goal is to allow people to come together peacefully and responsibly to voice their opinions and concerns, and we will do our best to work with the organizers to make sure that happens,” he added.
Floyd’s death has sparked massive protests for three days in the United States. and in some cases disturbances and looting of shops.
The incident in which Floyd died happened on Monday night, when a police patrol of four officers attended a Minneapolis site where it was reported that a person had tried to pay with a fake ticket.
The policemen found Floyd sitting in his vehicle and when he was ordered to leave, according to the official version, the individual resisted arrest, for which one of the officers subdued him by throwing him on the ground and, climbing on him, pressing his knee against his neck as his three companions watched the scene.
In a video broadcast on social networks, the white agent squeezes his neck with his knee for several minutes despite the man’s desperate complaints that he could not breathe, while his colleagues watched.
Floyd, 46, died shortly thereafter in a hospital, leading to the responsible officer, Derek Chauvin, being arrested on charges of third-degree murder and reckless manslaughter this Friday after being fired from the police force.