WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: Terrifying footage has caught the moment a New York Police vehicle appears to ram into a row of protesters as tensions over the death of black man George Floyd continue to escalate across the country.
Video shows the SUV jolting forward into a crowd of protesters standing behind a metal barricade on a street in the city on Saturday morning (local time).
Screams were heard coming from the scene instantly after impact. It is unclear if anyone was injured in the incident.
While some people fled, a large group of protestors are seen swarming the car, jumping on its roof and hitting it with bats and other heavy objects.
Video of the police car appearing to run into the crowd only added to public anger towards officers as rioting in New York City entered its third night, and continued in at least 12 other states.
US Representative for New York's 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the harrowing video and called on the city’s mayor to take action against the officer or officers responsible.
“NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings. They could‘ve killed them, & we don’t know how many they injured. NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings,” she wrote.
“NYC Mayor, these officers need to be brought to justice, not dismissed w/‘internal reviews’.”
A video of the aftermath showed the windscreen of the police vehicle shattered as one man climbed onto its bonnet and others smacked the passenger windows with heavy objects.
More shocking footage from New York City also appeared to show police vehicles driving at speed through crowded streets, only narrowly avoiding collisions with protesters, with some sprinting to avoid being hit.
— Marco (@chieffymac11) May 31, 2020
“My hands are shaking and I am sick to my stomach. I thought someone was going to die. NYPD barreling down Flatbush THROUGH protestors. What the hell,” a witness wrote on Twitter.
Elsewhere in New York, police cars were set alight and vandalised, while protest activity shut down lanes heading towards Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge, CBS reported.
Authorities impose curfews to settle protests
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has imposed an 8pm curfew for downtown Los Angeles as protests over the death of Mr Floyd continue.
In a press conference, Mr Garcetti said the curfew would take place from 8pm on Saturday until 5am on Sunday.
Mr Garcetti added the curfew was an effort to reduce looting, property damage and violence that have occurred during the widespread protests.
In addition to Los Angeles and Minneapolis, large-scale protests and unrest has been reported in Atlanta, St Louis, New York and other cities.
The death of Mr Floyd while in police custody has spurred widespread national outrage at the image of a black man dying seemingly at the hands of police.
My hands are shaking and I am sick to my stomach. I thought someone was going to die. #NYPD barreling down Flatbush THROUGH protestors. What the hell???!! 1/2 #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER #brooklynprotest #nyc #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloydMurder pic.twitter.com/tmJ8tyKTGy
— Ella Ryan (@zzelladonatella) May 31, 2020
One Minneapolis police officer has been charged with murder and manslaughter for pressing his knee against Mr Floyd's neck while he lay flat on the street for more than eight minutes even as the black man struggled and said, "I cannot breathe.”
Mr Floyd's arrest was captured on video by a bystander as others urged the four officers at the scene to ease the pressure on Mr Floyd's neck.
Los Angeles police said 533 people were arrested on Friday night.
Protests are raging in at least 20 US cities including Houston, Phoenix and Minneapolis, where at least 50 people were arrested after protesters defied a curfew.
About 2500 police officers were dispatched to keep the peace after the curfew was imposed in Minneapolis banning public activity between 8pm and 6am on Friday and Saturday.
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