Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, protests against police brutality have erupted in over 350 U.S. cities, from Louisville to Anchorage. In New York City, demonstrators have gathered and marched in Herald Square, Washington Square Park, the boutique-lined streets of Soho, and the Barclays Center and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. In neighborhoods already quieted by the coronavirus shutdown, thousands have kneeled together in silence and have taken over bridges and major roadways. Many have worn face masks and have tried, mostly in vain, to maintain social distance.
When police formed barricades to stop them, protesters chanted, “Let us through,” “March with us,” and “Quit your jobs.” And they called for justice with signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “Charge Killer Cops,” “Defund the NYPD” and “Stop Killing Black People.” After dark, long marches turned to confrontations between police units and smaller groups of protesters.
Although the protests have been largely peaceful, sporadic looting and vandalism has also taken place throughout the city. On Sunday evening, protesters pulled looters out of stores in Soho, forming barriers and urging people to continue to march in peace, shouting, “This is not what we’re here for!” Many rallies have culminated in forceful tactics from the police, including the use of tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets. For the first time since World War II, the city is under curfew.
The Marshall Project’s Emily Kassie has been photographing the protests in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Her images reveal city residents, still reeling from the pandemic, coming together to protest police violence, and during some tense moments, confronting officers head on.