New York | The controversy rose Friday in the United States against the police repression of the demonstrations against racial inequalities, in search of a new breath after ten days of rallies which set the country ablaze and the tributes paid the previous day to George Floyd.
• Read also: “You Changed the World”: poignant tribute ceremony for George Floyd
• Read also: Washington mayor calls for withdrawal of federal and military forces
• Read also: Trump: Falling unemployment marks ‘big day’ for George Floyd
Several videos showing muscular police interventions against peaceful demonstrators have emerged in recent days.
The most recent, released Thursday evening, shows a protester firmly rejected by a police officer when he is alone facing dozens of them in the city of Buffalo, in the far north of New York State.
It shows the 75-year-old man falling backwards, his head hitting the ground heavily, and no one to immediately rescue him.
A first official statement said that the protester, who was bleeding profusely and seemed to have lost consciousness, had “tripped and fallen”.
Faced with outrage over the reaction, two police officers involved in the incident were suspended, and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday called for their dismissal.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was also booed Thursday by thousands of people at a ceremony for George Floyd in Brooklyn for failing to condemn a police charge that occurred yesterday evening against protesters who did not commit any violence.
In an editorial, the New York Times calls on the mayor, who imposed a week-long curfew Tuesday after looting scenes in the heart of Manhattan, to “open your eyes” and stop claiming that the police were doing proof of great “restraint”, as he repeated on Thursday.
On the other side of the country, in Washington State, the mayor of Tacoma asked for the dismissal of police officers implicated in the death of a black man on March 3, after the broadcasting of a new video seeming to show them in trying to get on the man, already pressed to the ground by the roadside.
In Indianapolis, Midwest, police were investigating after the publication of another video showing police officers coming out with batons and pepper spray during the arrest of a protester on Sunday.
In the capital Washington, where the police had violently dispersed a peaceful demonstration near the White House on Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser called on Friday Donald Trump to withdraw the federal forces deployed in his daughter and has the slogan “Black Lives” painted in capital letters Matter ”(The black lives count) on an artery leading to the seat of the American executive.
Justice Minister William Barr acknowledged on Thursday that there were “long standing” problems with the way American police treat the black minority, but also vigorously defended law enforcement after what he called a “crescendo” of violence in Washington last weekend.
“George is watching us from up there”
These recent examples of police violence can only fuel the massive movement that has rocked the United States since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, during his arrest on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Even after certain protesters’ demands were finally heard: the white policeman who pressed his knee for nearly nine minutes on George Floyd’s neck was charged Wednesday with intentional murder – and no longer involuntary – and the three other officers present charged with complicity.
After ten days of demonstrations in some 150 American cities, which met with a wide echo abroad, many rallies were still expected Friday, especially in New York, and many wondered about the extent they would take this weekend .
The looting that occurred at the start of the movement in several cities has stopped, and the protests of the past two days have taken place overall in calm.
Several cities, including Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles, have now lifted their curfew, but not New York, where it will be maintained until Sunday evening.
Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for the restoration of public order, on Friday called again on failed states like New York to call in the National Guard for help.
But five months before the presidential election, he surprisingly linked the protests to his hopes for a recovery in the economy, after a surprise drop in unemployment in May.
“I hope George (Floyd) looks at us from above, thinking that what is happening in the country is great. It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everyone, “said the President.
A big demonstration is already looming for the end of August in Washington: at a ceremony in memory of George Floyd Thursday in Minneapolis, the Reverend Al Sharpton called to march in the capital on the anniversary of the “march on Washington” led by Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963.