Thousands of people — as many as 5,000 according to reports — gathered at the plaza outside Barclays Center Friday evening, part of nationwide protests against the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on Monday.
The protests started peacefully at around 6 p.m. before the NYPD, reportedly in response to a fire set on the plaza, began pepper spraying, beating and arresting protesters. In one video posted on Twitter, a young woman later identified as Dounya Zayer was shown being thrown to the side of the street, her head hitting the pavement. She reportedly suffered a seizure and was hospitalized. The incident is under investigation, WNBC reports.
Police had set up cordons at both the main entrance at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues and at the arena’s Dean Street entrance.
The protesters at one point climbed atop the Barclays Center subway stop before being removed by police. By early evening, some protesters moved north toward Fort Greene, then to the 88th police precinct where the night’s most violent scenes took place. A police van was set on fire.
The Daily News reported...
Protesters tagged police cars with profane graffiti like “F--- the police,” broke their mirrors, and wrecked them...
Crowds began moving toward the precinct around 8:20 p.m., said reports. Some in the group tried to rush the police precinct’s door, said law enforcement sources. Officers kept them at bay, and no protester got inside the stationhouse, said a high-ranking police source.
Between 50 and 100 people were arrested in the protest, said the News.
The entrance plaza has become the site of several protests in its short history, but none have had the size or scope of Friday’s demonstrations. Its size and accessibility above a transportation hub has made it an ideal location for pop-up protests. (Ironically, the plaza was supposed to be the site of an iconic office building when plans for Atlantic Yards were drawn up nearly 20 years ago. It is now seen as a community amenity.)
Across the country, current and former NBA players participated in protests, including former Net Stephen Jackson, a friend of Floyd’s, and the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s still grieving the loss of his mother from COVID-19.
Here’s a Twitter timeline of the events, starting with the most recent tweet. It will be updated.
THESE ARE PEOPLE “PROTECTING” US. This shit was happening all day. Cops pushing innocent protestors down. Disgusting. https://t.co/6LdKkkC10K— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) May 30, 2020
About 40 cops have surrounded a small group of protesters on the corner of Flatbush and Pacific (across the street from Barclays) for some reason.#BarclaysCenter #blacklivesmatter #blm pic.twitter.com/A17W4Afdtt— Nat Towsen (@NatTowsen) May 30, 2020
Mad respect for @zellnor4ny @SenatorMyrie who was just arrested at the #BLM #GeorgeFloyd protest at the #BarclaysCenter. Footage sent to me by a friend who recognized him & caught it on film. She said he had milk on his face/ had been pepper sprayed. #AbolishThePolice pic.twitter.com/z147cL7CEA— Katy McFadden CNM, RNC-NIC (@brooklyn_grows) May 30, 2020
Shit is getting real over here at Barclays Center pic.twitter.com/aQ4StmnWOi— Jasper Apollonia (@GatSummitt) May 29, 2020
"The Barclays Center, in downtown Brooklyn, is now completely surrounded by protesters and police"— Robin TEXT TRUMP to 88022 (@HyltonRobin) May 30, 2020
A lot just popped off at the protest for George Floyd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Pepper spray, batons, and several arrests. pic.twitter.com/ZuciQA82fe— Jon Campbell (@j0ncampbell) May 29, 2020
Thousands of people wearing masks and protesting in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/AXZgmDBq8K— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 29, 2020
Her name is Taylor, a 16 year old from the Bronx who asked that this video was shared. She wants her family to know that she didn’t do anything #barclayscenter #GeorgeFloyd #brooklyn #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/5CMUe9nbSe— maggie (@maggiegasparik) May 30, 2020
Peppa Spray Pigs letting it fly at an otherwise peaceful Barclays Center because someone threw an EMPTY PLASTIC water bottle, foh! pic.twitter.com/LtkLHMGXc5— Mike Nouveau (@MikeNouveau) May 29, 2020
This was outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/oqydP2WxZF— Tamara (@curvysocialite) May 29, 2020
Our own Matt Brooks was among the protesters at a similar event at Town Hall in Manhattan. He later tweeted that he’s fine. “I’m good folks, thank you for checking in. Just a casual vitamin D intake through the eyeballs.”
Matt posted about his experiences via Periscope.
Hello. Here’s what happened today https://t.co/P4clGhjL2s— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) May 30, 2020
- Protests Flare in Brooklyn Over Floyd Death as de Blasio Appeals for Calm - Edgar Sandoval - New York Times
- Violent protesters charge Brooklyn police precinct in day of demonstrations over police killing of black man in Minneapolis - Elizabeth Keogh, Michael Elson-Rooney, Rocco Parascandola, Anna Sanders & Ellen Moynihan - New York Daily News
- NYPD cop seen tossing protester to ground in video under investigation - Sam Dorn - New York Post
- New York’s top lawmakers call Brooklyn protests ‘warranted,’ urge de-escalation - Jon Levine - New York Post
- Violent clashes break out in NYC after George Floyd’s death - George Chayes - Newsday
- 200 Arrested in 2nd Day of Violent NYC Protests Against Police Brutality Over George Floyd Death - WNBC
- “We need you out here:” A firsthand account of Brooklyn’s protest for George Floyd - Shante’ Cosme - MIC
- Protesters clash with police at George Floyd rally outside Barclays Center - Kathy Vasquez - News 12
- Protest erupts outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center over death of George Floyd - Lauren Vella - The Hill
- Thousands Of New Yorkers Protest Police Killing Of George Floyd As NYPD Responds With Batons And Pepper Spray - Nick Pinto & Jake Offenhartz - Gothamist
- As Barclays Center becomes locus for angry protests and harsh response, arena’s boosterish bluster has new valance - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report