Following another night of rampant chaos, destruction and looting in Manhattan, New York City’s curfew will start at 8 p.m. Tuesday, three hours earlier than the night before. It will be in effect through Sunday, June 7.
Mayor de Blasio made the initial announcement of the new curfew late Monday as rioters tore through the city, setting fires, smashing store windows, robbing merchandise and battling police officers who were unable to quell the violence. On Tuesday morning he said it would extend through the weekend.
Videos posted to social media showed rioters stealing mass quantities of goods from stores across Manhattan, including the flagship Macy’s in Herald Square, The North Face, Microsoft and countless others. Attacks on police left at least one officer unconscious, video showed. In the Bronx, another video, taken from a moving car, showed an officer attacked by several people, including two who separately smashed him with some kind of square object. Other posts Manhattan and Brooklyn show cops making violent arrests or otherwise attacking seemingly peaceful protesters.
In Washington, President Trump vowed to use the military to quell the chaos that has erupted in a reported 140 cities nationwide if municipal and state authorities are unable to do so.
De Blasio and Gov. Cuomo imposed a curfew starting at 11 p.m. Monday — the first in the city since 1943, according to the Gothamist news outlet. They also said the number of police on the street would double from about 4,000 to 8,000.
The violence and looting were coupled with peaceful rallies held around the city protesting racial injustice, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, a black man, in Minnesota. In some cases the rioters and looters appeared to be among the protesters and in some cases they were separate from them, videos showed.
“These protests have power and meaning,” de Blasio said on Twitter at 10:21 p.m. Monday. “But as the night wears on we are seeing groups use them to incite violence and destroy property.
“Our first priority is keeping people safe, so I’m extending the curfew to Tuesday. It will begin at 8pm.”
Queens has largely been spared the disorder that has gripped Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx, though a group of about 200 young people tried to break into the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst Monday afternoon. Capt. Jonathan Cermeli, the commanding officer of the 110th Precinct, said they caused damage but did not manage to get in and steal anything. One rioter threw a brick at him but missed, he said.
A window at Foot Locker in the Shops at Atlas Park mall in Glendale was broken some time last night but it did not appear the store had been entered. Staffers with the mall, where the Queens Chronicle has its offices in a building next door to Foot Locker, were cleaning up the glass Tuesday morning as security stood by. Several other stores in the mall had boarded up their windows Monday.
The new citywide curfew starts three hours earlier and will end, like the first one, at 5 a.m. Those considered essential workers — a list that runs the gamut from doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks, public transit employees, news reporters and many more — are exempt from the restriction.
In Monday’s announcement of the first curfew, de Blasio had said, “I support and protect peaceful protest in this city," reversing his administration's previous position that large gatherings of any kind will not be allowed due to the coronavirus.
"The demonstrations we've seen have been generally peaceful. We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment. It is too important and the message must be heard. Tonight, to protect against violence and property damage, the Governor and I have decided to implement a citywide curfew.
“The Police Commissioner and I have spoken at length about the incidents we've all seen in recent days where officers didn't uphold the values of this city or the NYPD. We agree on the need for swift action. He will speak later today on how officers will be held accountable.”
Cuomo’s Monday statement said: “I stand behind the protestors and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to take advantage of and discredit this moment for their own personal gain. The violence and the looting that has gone on in New York City has been bad for the city, the state and this entire national movement, undermining the and distracting from this righteous cause. While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised. At the same time, we are in the midst of a global pandemic which spreads through crowds and threatens public health. Tonight the Mayor and are implementing a citywide curfew starting at 11 PM and doubling the NYPD presence across the city.”
The announcement that more police officers will be deployed conflicts with the beliefs of some elected officials in Queens.
"In the face of anger and pain from our community because of police brutality the response from our “leaders” is to deploy more police .... makes total sense," state Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights) said in a tweet.
This article has been updated to include the extension of the curfew through Sunday, June 7.
This article initially misstated the borough in which one attack on a police officer took place. It was in the Bronx. We regret the error.