The 292 figure provided by police gave some initial context to the fallout of how the protests, lasting over a week, have impacted law enforcement — which has faced threats of violence, defunding and harassment in the streets. Messages like “F–k the police,” acab (all cops are b—ards) and descriptions of cops as “pigs” have been painted across buildings and monuments in U.S. cities, and held up on protesters’ signs.
The extent of the 292 injuries is unclear. While the bulk of protests have reportedly been peaceful, U.S. cities have utilized law enforcement to tamp down on the more violent and destructive aspects. The unrest has become so dangerous that President Trump threatened to deploy the armed forces to help police officers and the National Guard.
Tens of thousands of protesters streamed into the nation’s capital and other major cities Saturday in another huge mobilization against police brutality and racial injustice, while Floyd was remembered in his North Carolina hometown by mourners who waited hours for a glimpse of his golden coffin.
Highlighting the potential for violence, the NYPD tweeted a video of a brutal assault on one of their police officers, who was on anti-looting patrol in Brooklyn Wednesday. “This was not a chance encounter — it was a planned assassination attempt on an NYPD police officer. It’s only by sheer luck that this didn’t have a drastically different outcome,” the department said in a tweet.
In Oregon, the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office also tweeted images of objects thrown at them during protests. The seemingly random objects included glass beer bottles, bricks, batteries, ball bearings, garbanzo bean cans and White Claws.
Amid anticipated protests, Trump again tweeted “LAW & ORDER!” in apparent solidarity with police officers. Trump has criticized state and local officials for their alleged weakness in the face of riots, but he and others have been accused of being too harsh in response to protests about police brutality and racism.
Earlier this week, media outlets accused Trump of tear-gassing peaceful protesters for a photo-op at St. John’s Church, which was set ablaze amid protests the prior night in D.C. Park police later released a statement claiming they dispersed the protest in Lafayette Park without tear gas and because the protesters were becoming violent — something media figures who were allegedly at the scene have disputed.
A U.S. Park Police spokesperson said Friday it was a “mistake” to insist in a statement Tuesday that no tear gas was used. However, the spokesperson insisted that Park Police did not lie, explicitly noting that pepper balls were shot. Pepper balls can cause irritation to the eyes and cause tears.
Two New York City police officers were also suspended without pay Friday after videos emerged showing them in violent confrontations with George Floyd protesters, according to reports. One video showed an officer pepper-spraying a man after pulling down the man’s face mask, while the other video showed an officer throwing a woman to the ground and shouting profanity at her, BuzzFeed News reported.
Both protesters’ and police officers’ conduct has come under scrutiny as a swarm of videos have surfaced online showing physical violence between the two — prolonging an already difficult tension that initially sparked the protests.
Protesters are demanding that politicians implement reforms that would combat what they describe as systemic racism in the justice system. Floyd’s death was just the latest in a series of high-profile incidents that activists say are indicative of a broader trend. The tension surrounding the issue has been mounting in recent years because of those police encounters and the ensuing backlash — including NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
It’s unclear what policies will make it through Congress, but prominent Democrats have already lent support to sweeping reforms.
Both House and Senate efforts are expected to include changes to police accountability laws, such as revising immunity provisions and creating a database of police use-of-force incidents. Revamped training requirements are planned, too, among them a ban on the use of chokeholds. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has endorsed such a ban.
Perhaps most notably, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., put her stamp of approval on the far-left police defunding demand as a policy solution to combat brutality and racial injustice during a congressional primary debate that aired Friday night on NY1.
Ocasio-Cortez said she’s “actively engaged in advocacy for” a “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] and public housing.”
She echoed the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform activists that New York City should be spending less on policing and put that money into resources that would help black communities thrive, such as education, housing and social services.
Also in New York, a congressional candidate, Laura Ashcraft, sent a fundraising email that read: “F&$# THE POLICE.”
The Los Angeles Police Department already faces a funding cut proposal from Mayor Eric Garcetti who sought to redirect $250 million into the black community and others “who have been left behind.” The city is reportedly considering a figure closer to between $100 and $150 million.
Law enforcement leaders have ardently pushed back on the movement, claiming that it will put others in danger.
“I mean, so we talk about de funding, and then there’s talk about dismantling in some instances, it’s clearly a knee jerk reaction — this notion that one-size-fits-all, it’s flawed,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said during “Cavuto Live” on Saturday. Joe Gamaldi, who serves as vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, similarly told “Outnumbered Overtime” Friday that it was “insane” to defund the police.
Fox News’ Brian Llenas, Peter Aitken, Dom Callichio, Marisa Schultz, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.