Demonstrations are occurring across the country today in protest of police brutality of the kind that killed Minneapolis man George Floyd earlier this week. And following a small, peaceful protest in downtown Oakland Thursday night, a second night of protest is taking shape that could be larger, following the chaotic scenes in Minneapolis last night — and following President Trump's outrageous call for the National Guard to shoot looters.
Protests occurred in multiple cities Thursday night including Portland, Los Angeles, and New York, with protests in Memphis and Louisville gaining some of the most attention outside of Minneapolis. But tensions hit a peak in Minneapolis last night, with protesters setting fire to the police department's 3rd Precinct building. Tonight, the city is under a mandatory curfew, and the National Guard will be out enforcing it, as the New York Times reports.
In Oakland, protesters are being called to gather at 8 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza outside of City Hall, in solidarity with the protesters in Minnesota and elsewhere. Oakland has had its own ugly history with police brutality, and its police department has been through a succession of upheavals in recent years partly as a result of that history.
While it was BART police, and not the OPD, who were responsible in the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, the case became one of the most publicized in the nation due to the circumstances of an unarmed Grant being fatally shot, late on New Year's Eve. The incident inspired a 2013 film starring Michael B. Jordan, and subsequent protests in Oakland during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014 and 2016 made frequent reference to Grant's death.
Thursday evening's protest in Oakland only brought out about 60 people, as ABC 7 reports, while chaos was reining in Minneapolis. Though the growing outrage about the George Floyd case on social media — and the murder charges that were filed today against the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck — could bring out more protesters today.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott on Friday issued a statement saying that the killing was "extremely disturbing."
"What I and everyone else saw on the video images of this incident is flat wrong and not consistent with the respect for the sanctity of human life that all men and women who are sworn peace officers have a duty to uphold,” Scott said. “Furthermore, this issue intersects squarely with policing disparities that have occurred for generations — and continue to occur — in regard to using force on people of color (specifically black and brown men)."
As the Chronicle reports, Oakland's interim police chief Susan Manheimer issued her own statement saying her department was "deeply disturbed" by the case.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also spoke out about the case Friday saying, "The killing of George Floyd is our American travesty, repeated. It’s a nauseating act of government violence against a Black man, and it angers our city and communities across the country."