George Floyd Protests Peaceful Amid Calls to Defund the Police 1

In Brooklyn on Sunday evening, a crowd chanted and danced around Grand Army Plaza, where a drum circle brought applause. Earlier in the day, hundreds gathered in silent meditation for Black Lives Matter in Herbert Von King Park.

Marchers on Manhattan’s First Avenue passed a hospital and were cheered on by hospital workers, while more demonstrators sat down on Central Park West. Even on the North Shore of Staten Island, protesters filled the streets and raised their fists.

Nearly two weeks after the death of George Floyd—which sparked days of unrest and violence across America’s cities—scenes throughout New York City were peaceful after the nearly weeklong curfew was lifted and police made room for protest.

The imagery of destruction and looting that dominated TV news last week fell away, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced police reforms—including the shifting of NYPD funds into youth and social services for communities of color.

Indeed, calls for defunding the police are growing louder nationwide—including in Minneapolis, where an officer killed Floyd, 46, during an arrest. That cop, Derek Chauvin, was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring his pleas to stop and his statements that he couldn’t breathe.

On Sunday, nine of the 13 members of Minneapolis’ City Council announced their support for defunding and dismantling the police force in favor of a community-based public safety program. “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” council president Lisa Bender said at a community meeting at Powderhorn Park, KARE 11 reported.

Meanwhile, curfews were lifted in Chicago and Philadelphia, and the mayor of Los Angeles announced National Guard troops would leave the city. President Trump also said Sunday that he ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from D.C.

But not all protests were without violence. In Seattle, reports surfaced Sunday afternoon of a black vehicle driving into a crowd and firing a weapon. A 27-year-old man was injured, local TV station KING 5 reported.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) marched to the White House alongside hundreds of evangelicals speaking out against racial injustice. For a tenth day, thousands of people gathered at the nation’s capital in protest of police brutality. A fence outside Lafayette Park became a kind of memorial plastered with protest signs. “Killed for Sleeping While Black,” read one sign with a photo attached. Another poster declared, “Silence is violence.”

A stretch of 16th Street in front of the White House, now called Black Lives Matter Plaza for that message painted in giant yellow letters, still held peaceful crowds on Sunday night. It also drew a visit from Civil Rights leader John Lewis, a Democratic Congressman representing Georgia.

Makeda Jahnesta, a daughter of the late songwriter Bob Marley, spoke at the plaza earlier in the day and sang “Redemption Song” at Lafayette Square, according to reporters’ tweets.

In Philadelphia, smaller factions of protesters gathered throughout the city, including cyclists who joined a “Blackout Bike Ride,” and doctors in scrubs and white coats who supported demonstrators in City Center. Black Lives Matter leaders met with city officials and law enforcement for a two-hour listening session, CBS Philly reported.

Skateboarders took to Philly’s streets, too. 

Players with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Wisconsin city’s NBA team, organized a rally Sunday outside the Fiserv Forum arena. Sterling Brown, a player who was tased while being wrongfully arrested in 2018, led a chant of “No justice! No peace!”

Not too far away in Veterans Park, activists held a protest intended to be accessible for all, including people who use wheelchairs or who require interpreters.  

On the West Coast, an estimated 20,000 people joined a massive protest in Hollywood led, in part, by the rapper YG. 

A Black Lives Matter flag flew on top of the Capitol Records building on Sunday, which is believed to be Los Angeles’ largest anti-racism protest since Floyd’s death.