George Floyd

George Floyd Protests: Los Angeles and New York curfews, toughest in decades

LA authorities have imposed the strictest curfew since the Rodney King riots and NYC is on the toughest lockdown since the Harlem race riots in 1943.

George Floyd Protests: Los Angeles and New York curfews, toughest in decades
BRENDAN MCDERMID REUTERS

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on 25 May has sparked the worst civil unrest seen in the United States in decades and led to the imposition of some of the strictest curfews ever dished out in Los Angeles and New York. Floyd was allegedly killed by police officer Derek Chauvin after being accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a market. Three other officers were fired the following day for their part in restraining Floyd and preventing intervention from members of the public.

The images of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck quickly circulated on the internet and lit a powder keg in the US where police brutality against African-Americans has led to several confrontations in recent years. In Charleston, 62 people were arrested over the weekend after riots erupted in a city that has become a flashpoint for the Black Lives Matter movement after the 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in which nine African-Americans were killed by self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof.

Two years later, the Unite the Right in Charlottesville turned violent when white extremist and neo-Nazi groups, protesting against the decision by some local authorities in southern states to remove Confederate civil war statues resulted in around 30 injuries on August 11, 2017. After a state of emergency was declared by Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe a day, white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr drove into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19. US President Donald Trump received criticism for his comments on the rally, stating that there were “fine people on both sides.”

Live coverage: George Floyd death sparks protests across US

New York under toughest curfew since 1943

Violence over the death of Floyd has now spread from Minneapolis to over 400 cities in all 50 states. In response, Los Angeles and New York have imposed the toughest curfews in decades. In the case of New York, a curfew from 11 pm until 5 am was imposed on Monday and brought forward to 8 pm on Tuesday. Such restrictions on New Yorkers have not been used since the Harlem race riots of 1943.

In Los Angeles, memories of the 1992 Rodney King riots have been invoked with the authorities putting a 12-hour curfew in place from 18:00 to 06:00 on Monday. The 1992 riots followed the acquittal of four LAPD officers who had been videoed savagely beating King during an arrest. The ensuing riots led to the deaths of 50 people with 2,000 injured.

The executive order imposing the curfew noted that in its absence there would be “imminent danger to life and property during the hours of darkness.” Some 2,000 National Guard have now been deployed in southern California.