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When The Protests Aren’t Peaceful: Police Brutality During Demonstrations

A Denver police officer stands in front of a police truck  with a shattered window in Denver, Colorado  during a protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
A Denver police officer stands in front of a police truck with a shattered window in Denver, Colorado during a protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Six years ago, in July of 2014, a Black man in New York City was forced to the ground by police. A passerby filmed the incident. On the tape, you can hear the man say, “I can’t breathe.”

His name was Eric Garner. And he died in police custody after an officer wrapped his arm around his neck.

Years later, following the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, it would appear as though little has changed. Black Americans are still unfairly targeted by police, despite some reforms enacted in police departments around the country.

When people protested police brutality this weekend, the police often responded with more force. Videos show officers using batons, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets on protesters, bystanders and journalists, often without warning or seemingly unprovoked.

Not all protests have erupted in violence, with some police forces showing a more positive relationship with their communities.

We explore how police around the country have responded to the protests this week and efforts to hold police accountable.

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