For the second consecutive night in New York City, a day of peaceful protests in response to the police killing for George Floyd in Minneapolis gave way to a night of chaos, destruction, and looting.
The mayhem took place despite pledges by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore calm after Soho was ransacked Sunday night. The NYPD doubled the number of police on the streets and an 11 p.m. curfew was put in place. It was the city’s first curfew since 1943, when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia imposed a 10:30 p.m. curfew to quell protests following a white police officer shooting a black soldier in Harlem.
The looting Monday night started well before the curfew went into effect. “There are packs of youths running as fast as they can, smashing windows as fast as they can, and police are trying to catch them as soon as possible,” an NYPD spokesman said Monday night.
On Tuesday morning, the NYPD said they made 700 arrests related to the looting.
Herald Square was particularly hard hit. Video showed a stream of people entering Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street prior to the start of the curfew.
Eventually, some of them were arrested.
Daily Beast reporter Rachel Olding described the scene as “complete anarchy.”
Videos showed looting at a Microsoft store, Urban Outfitters, and Nike Store, among many other stores.
Hours after the curfew went into effect, the streets were still filled with people prying plywood from doors and windows.
Media reports have referred to the looters are mostly young people, and the New York Post is reporting that they’re largely local. “It’s coordinated,” a police source told the paper. “They are not out-of-towners. We know who they are.”
As on Sunday night, there were reports Monday of protesters pushing looters away from shops and imploring them to stop. The Times reports:
On Monday, protesters sometimes deputized themselves to stop the destruction and stealing. When one group shattered the windows of an Aldo shoe store in the afternoon, protesters rushed forward to push them away from the store, pulling one young man out of the broken window as he tried to climb inside.
“Stop doing this!” one distraught woman yelled, her friends holding her back as she lunged toward the looters. “George Floyd’s brother said not to do this! That is not what this is about!”
De Blasio announced Monday that the city’s curfew will be moved up to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.