By Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City imposed an 11 p.m. curfew Monday as the nation’s biggest city tried to head off another night of destruction erupting amid protests over George Floyd’s death.
With an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, New York is joining other cities around the country in imposing such restrictions after days of violence. The limit on the movement of 8.6 million people comes after months of restrictions already imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the outbreaks of violence — which left stores ransacked, police vehicles burned and other destruction in spots around the city — left them no choice, even as they insisted they stood with peaceful demonstrators who have spoken out for several days against police brutality and racial injustice.
“We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment,” de Blasio said in a written statement. Cuomo blamed “people who are looking to distract and discredit” the protests and said they couldn’t be allowed to undermine public safety.
The two leaders, both Democrats, also criticized some police actions as fueling protesters’ rage.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said earlier Monday that he worried about whether a curfew would be heeded.
“If people think it will, they don’t understand what’s going on,” Shea said on NBC’s “Today.”
The announcement came as new protests got underway.
Overnight, people had smashed windows and plundered shops in parts of Manhattan. Hundreds were arrested, Shea said.
A 21-year-old man was shot in the chic SoHo neighborhood around 12:30 a.m. and was taken to a hospital, police said. They said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Groups of people poured down the sidewalks in Soho and other neighborhoods including Union Square, breaking into Rolex, Kate Spade and Prada boutiques and electronics stores that have been shuttered for over two months because of the coronavirus.
“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,’” New York City resident Sean Jones said as he watched the destruction.
On Monday morning, police were visible on some of SoHo’s hardest-hit streets, and the smell of freshly cut plywood wafted as stores boarded up.
“It’s disturbing because I’m 100% behind the protesters and against police brutality and bad cops killing people of color whenever they fricking want to, but this is a different story,” said Ruby Packard, a teacher and longtime SoHo resident.
“There are people using this as a reason to create chaos and be violent,” she added.
Sunday was the third night in a row of mainly peaceful daytime demonstrations, chaotic nights, hot spots of violence and arrests, with the mayor’s daughter among those arrested over the weekend.