BOSTON (CBS) – Protesters and police clashed in the South End Friday night as hundreds of people demanded justice for the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on his neck while trying to arrest him after he said he couldn’t breathe.
What started as a peaceful protest at Peters Park turned into something the organizers said they did not want to see happen. It began with protesters silently taking a knee, but within a few hours, a march turned into madness outside of a police station.
Hundreds marched from the park down Harrison Ave. A few dozen stayed behind at the District 4 police station, chanting, some yelling at officers within a few inches of their face. At one point the officers pushed the crowd back and pepper spray was deployed.
— Nick Emmons WBZ (@NickEmmonsTV) May 30, 2020
It is unclear if anybody was injured or if any arrests were made.
One woman, who appeared to have been hit with pepper spray, yelled out for an inhaler as she struggled to breathe. Several people could be seen washing their faces with milk.
The protest was organized by Mass Action Against Police Brutality. Protesters held signs that said things like “We Demand Racial Justice” and “Rise Up Against Racism.”
Organizer Brock Satter said the arrest of the officer involved in Floyd’s death is a step in the right direction, but that the protest has a bigger mission of applying pressure to hold police accountable for violence.
“Basically people just need to be aware that there is a pandemic of police brutality and it’s just as dangerous as COVID-19 and it’s affecting every state, red and blue,” Satter said.
During the beginning of the rally, Satter celebrated the victory of the officer’s arrest: “Let’s yell out a collective celebration for the fact that the first police officer was arrested and charged today, a few hours ago, as a direct result of our protests around the country,” Satter said.
Large scale and sometimes violent demonstrations have taken place in several cities, including Denver, Louisville, Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta and in Houston, George Lloyd’s hometown.