By Agence France-Presse
The United States braced Friday for massive weekend protests against racism and police brutality, as outrage soared over the latest law enforcement abuses against demonstrators that were caught on camera.
With protests over last week’s police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, surging into a second weekend, President Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy by saying it was a “great day” for Floyd.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for November’s election, called Trump’s comments “frankly despicable,” as thousands took to streets across America for a 10th straight day of anti-racism demonstrations.
Massive street demonstrations are set for Saturday, including in Washington where tens of thousands of people are expected. The mayor painted “Black Lives Matter” in giant letters on the road leading to the White House ahead of the crowd’s arrival.
Also on Saturday a remembrance for Floyd will be held in Raeford, North Carolina, the state where he was born, following an initial ceremony in Minneapolis that was held Thursday.
The protests, sparked by a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as he pleaded for his life, took place amid a roiling controversy over officers’ use of force against largely peaceful demonstrators.
In Buffalo, New York, two policemen were suspended without pay after a video showed them shoving over a 75-year-old protester who fell and suffered a head injury.
Reporting the suspension on Twitter, Mayor Byron Brown said he and the police commissioner were “deeply disturbed” by the video.
An earlier police statement said the man, who appeared unconscious and bleeding heavily from the head, “tripped and fell.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo called the incident “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful,” in a tweet.
In Indianapolis, police launched an investigation after a video emerged showing at least four officers hitting a woman with batons and firing pepper balls at her on Sunday night.
And in New York City Thursday, officers baton-charged dozens of peaceful protesters defying a curfew in the Bronx after pinning them in, leaving them with nowhere to run, several reports said.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced Friday that two officers had been suspended following “several troubling incidents,” one for pushing a woman to the ground and another for pulling down an man’s face mask and spraying pepper spray at him. Both incidents were caught on video.