NEW YORK – Workers swept up broken glass outside New York City luxury stores Monday after another night of destruction followed largely peaceful protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Workers boarded up a Chanel store in Soho, one of many in the historic district known for cobblestone streets and cast iron buildings where people smashed windows and plundered shops overnight.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of arrests in a very short time in that area,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on NBC's “Today.”
A 21-year-old man was shot in the neighborhood around 12:30 a.m. and was taken to a hospital, police said. They said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Mobs of people rampaged down the sidewalks in Soho and other neighborhoods including Union Square, breaking into Rolex, Kate Spade and Prada boutiques as well as electronics stores.
“This is like a dream. Like a movie,” said New York City resident Sean Jones as he watched the destruction. “People are doing this so next time, before they think about trying to kill another black person, they’re going to be like, ’Damn, we don’t want them out here doing this ... again."
For the third day in a row, protests across New York City over the May 25 death of Floyd — a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck — were largely peaceful during the daylight hours Sunday but turned violent at night. “ When it got dark, it got ugly and it got ugly quick,” Shea said.
There were gestures from police officers earlier Sunday intended to show sympathy with marchers. Some officers knelt with protesters in an intersection as an organizer called out the names of people killed by police.
But the police department has come under criticism for other interactions with demonstrators over the weekend including a confrontation in Brooklyn on Saturday when two police vehicles appeared to plow through a group of protesters.
Shea said the confrontation is one of “about six" that the department’s internal affairs bureau is investigating.
Similar protests have flared up around the nation in response to Floyd's death and other recent racially charged killings.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected the idea of a curfew like those adopted in several other major cities.
Shea said he didn't think curfew would work.
“We could impose a curfew today,” he said. “The problem is, people need to listen to a curfew and that’s not going to happen. If people think it will, they don’t understand what’s going on.”