Several hundred protesters marched through New York City while chanting Breonna Taylor’s name, demonstrators in Portland hurled firebombs at police, crowds occupied several lanes of a freeway in St. Louis, and the governors of Missouri and Massachusetts called up the National Guard as a precaution in the second night of nationwide protests.
Large masses of demonstrators were seen in Manhattan’s Union Square as well as Brooklyn on Thursday.
The protesters were carrying signs demanding to defund the police.
In Union Square, some 100 people gathered at around 5:30pm on Thursday. They then started marching west on 15th Street until they reached the area around the home of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Around 100 people gathered in New York’s Union Square on Thursday to protest the decision not to indict police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor
Anti-racism protesters gather outside police headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday evening
A Richmond, Virginia, police officer has pepper spray in hand while speaking to a protester at the Richmond Police Headquarters on Wednesday. Protesters gathered after a Louisville grand jury announced there would be no murder charges against the police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor
Johnson has come under fire from progressives for not backing larger cuts to the New York Police Department budget.
Calls to defund the police have escalated in New York after the May 25 police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Hundreds of protesters also gathered in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to denounce the Louisville grand jury’s decision not to directly charge any of the officers in the Breonna Taylor shooting.
Another demonstration was staged in nearby McCarren Park in Williamsburg.
‘We are out here for the injustices to Breonna. We are not out here for abolishing anything,’ one protester told the assembled crowd at the park.
‘We need people to understand, we are peacefully upset. We are pissed.
‘And the reason why we are out on these streets is to let people know that the verdict they came to, that the conclusion that they came to is unacceptable!’
Meanwhile, protests were also staged in St. Louis, where crowds gathered outside police headquarters.
Although the demonstrations were peaceful, state officials aren’t taking any chances in anticipation of the weekend.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order activating the state’s National Guard ‘as a precautionary measure in response to recent instances of civil unrest across the country,’ the governor’s office said in a news release Thursday.
‘The National Guard, as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol, stands ready to assist local law enforcement if necessary,’ the release said.
‘We fully support the right of citizens to peacefully protest and are committed to protecting that right. At this time, we are taking a proactive approach in the event that assistance is needed to support local law enforcement in protecting Missouri and its people,’ Parson said in the release.
Meanwhile, officials in Massachusetts are preparing for a large-scale protest in Boston on Friday evening.
Hundreds – perhaps thousands – are expected to attend a demonstration in Boston’s Nubian Square at around 6pm on Friday.
At least four other protests are planned in Boston over the course of the weekend.
A protester holds up a portrait of Breonna Taylor during a demonstration in Brooklyn on Thursday
Young children sit and listen during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn on Thursday
A Black Lives Matter supporter holds up a sign that reads ‘Say their names’ during a demonstration in Brooklyn on Thursday
An activist speaks as protesters look on and listen during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn on Thursday
Protesters hold up signs that read ‘Justice 4 Breonna now’ and ‘No justice in an unjust system’ during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn on Thursday
Demonstrators in Brooklyn hold up placards as they protest following the announcement of a single indictment in the Breonna Taylor case on Thursday
Demonstrators wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts look on during a demonstration in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday
Demonstrators kneel in protest in reaction to the decision not to indict police officers in the Breonna Taylor case in Brooklyn on Thursday
A protester in Brooklyn holds up a sign that reads: ‘Until I feel free and safe to be me, there will be no peace’
People walk past a fence with the pictures of victims of police brutality in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on Thursday
A demonstrator holds up two peace fingers during a rally in support of Black Lives Matter in Brooklyn on Thursday
A picture of Breonna Taylor is seen at a makeshift memorial for victims of racial injustice in Brooklyn on Thursday
Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker signed an order on Thursday mobilizing the state’s National Guard.
Baker’s order calls up to 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National guard ‘to provide necessary assistance to State and local civilian authorities and/or special duty and emergency assistance for the preservation of live and property, preservation of order, and to afford protection to persons.’
Meanwhile, protesters in Portland hurled several firebombs at officers in Oregon´s largest city during a demonstration over the Taylor decision, escalating tensions in a city that’s already seen nearly four months of nightly protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said Wednesday night’s demonstrations were the most violent that Portland has seen thus far in four months of nearly nightly unrest since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minnesota after a white officer held a knee to his neck.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt – who has been criticized for dismissing cases against hundreds of protesters – condemned the violence and called for calm.
Thirteen people were arrested during the demonstration.
US agents with the Federal Protective Service, who were guarding a federal courthouse nearby, offered assistance and the Portland police accepted because it was an ’emergency need in the moment,’ Davis said at a news conference Thursday.
‘I can’t say that just because last night was exceptionally violent that that´s the beginning of a trend’ he said.
‘I certainly hope not.’
He added, ‘We’re at the mercy of people who show up … and what they intend to do.’
No tear gas was used by local or federal law enforcement, Davis said.
Schmidt, the newly elected prosecutor who made waves this summer by deciding not to prosecute protesters arrested for lower-level, non-violent crimes, said a peaceful protest intended to honor Taylor was sabotaged by violence.
‘I am thankful that no Portland police officers or Portland firefighters were injured,’ he wrote in a statement Thursday.
‘There is no justification for a person to ever throw an incendiary device, to set fire to buildings or to engage in other violent and destructive behavior.’
Those arrested included a 23-year-old man who was charged Thursday with riot and unlawful possession of a destructive device.
Black Lives Matter supporters stage a demonstration in Union Square in New York City on Thursday
A group of about 100 demonstrators marched from Union Square to the home of New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
The protesters were angry at Johnson for approving a city budget that they say did not cut enough funds from the New York Police Department
A woman wears a t-shirt that reads ‘Protect children, not guns’ during a demonstration in Union Square on Thursday
A demonstrator is shown holding a ‘Justice for Breonna Taylor’ sign on West 15th street during a Black Lives Matter rally against Corey Johnson in New York on Thursday
Demonstrators hold signs that read ‘She deserved better’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ on West 15th Street in Manhattan on Thursday
Tanesha Grant leads a crowd of demonstrators during a rally and march from Union Square in New York to the home of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
A probable cause affidavit filed Thursday in court says a police officer saw Joseph Robert Sipe light the firebomb’s wick and throw it.
Sipe later said he had tossed the lighted device behind the police line as it advanced, according to the affidavit.
Sipe is identified in court papers as a homeless ex-Marine who has schizophrenia.
His public defender, Grant Hartley, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Two other individuals were charged Thursday with squirting accelerant on barricaded doors at the police headquarters, throwing a firebomb that didn’t explode and throwing rocks at windows.
The prosecutor said in a news release that an unidentified person dropped a backpack of rocks in the middle of the protest and people started throwing them.
The protesters Wednesday joined demonstrators around the US who were enraged that a grand jury didn´t indict officers in the shooting of Taylor, a Black woman who was shot to death in her Louisville home by officers conducting a drug investigation.
Police said protesters hurled three firebombs – also known as Molotov cocktails – at officers and threw rocks that shattered windows at a law enforcement precinct station.
One officer was hit in the foot by one of the firebombs and a fire department medic put out the flames.
Protesters light up their cell phones during a protest action on Interstate 64 on Thursday evening
A protester holds a sign that reads ‘Stop killing us’ as other demonstrators take to the streets in St. Louis on Thursday
A Black Lives Matter protester in St. Louis holds a sign that reads ‘We demand justice for Breonna Taylor. Send those killer cops to jail’
A young girls holds a candle during a protest action on Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
Demonstrators light candles during a vigil on Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
Actvist Ohun Ashe leads chants with protesters during a protest action on Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
The St. Louis skyline is seen in the background as demonstrators take to the streets of the city on Thursday
A woman holds a sign and candles during a protest action along Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
Protesters light up their cell phones during a protest action on Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
A demonstrator holds up a sign that reads ‘Protect black women’ in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
A large crowd of dozens of protesters block several lanes of Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
A woman wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt holds a candle outside St. Louis police headquarters on Thursday
Demonstrators are seen above outside St. Louis police headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers in Louisville who entered her home during a narcotics investigation in March.
The Kentucky grand jury returned three charges of wanton endangerment Wednesday against fired Louisville Officer Brett Hankison over shooting into a home next to Taylor´s with people inside.
In Portland, demonstrators have taken to the streets almost every night for four months to protest police brutality and to demand a reduction in police funding.
A small number have frequently set fires, smashed windows and thrown objects at police.
More recently, protesters have targeted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for allowing police to use tear gas to disperse crowds and for what protesters believe are overly aggressive tactics.
Wheeler banned all use of tear gas last week.
At the same time, the mayor has become a frequent focus of attacks from President Donald Trump, who has accused him of being weak and doing nothing to stop the unrest in his city. Trump has made Portland a common theme in his ‘law and order’ reelection campaign.
The right-wing group Proud Boys plans a rally in Portland this Saturday to support Trump and the police and to condemn anti-fascists, what the group calls ‘domestic terrorism’ and Wheeler´s leadership, according to their permit application.
The city denied the permit, citing the estimated crowd size of 10,000 during a pandemic, but police said Thursday they will not try to stop the Proud Boys from gathering at a park in north Portland.