NEW YORK - Police again cracked down on protesters outside after New York City’s 8 p.m. curfew Thursday, arresting protesters out for the eigth straight day denouncing the death of George Floyd.
The NYPD says more than 200 people were taken into custody.
They include a DoorDash delivery worker whose arrest was caught on video.
Delivery people are among the essential workers who are exempt from having to follow the curfew.
The police department says the delivery guy was released after they checked his credentials.
Protesters on the Upper East Side were arrested for curfew violations a few minutes after 8 p.m. hit. NY1 crews spotted police arresting protesters and leading them into vans.
About 1,000 people had staged a sit-in outside Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side, then marched south before police stopped them at 66th Street and Madison Avenue. At least a dozen people were seen being taken into custody.
More arrests in Midtown were spotted after 10 p.m.
There were also reports of arrests outside the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue.
In the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, at least 10 protesters were reportedly taken into custody after police surrounded the group, charged them, and handcuffed them.
Meantime, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea is defending his department's actions amid growing criticism of the NYPD.
Shea apologized for enforcement that led to claims of racial bias or excessive use of force while trying to enforce the curfew and breaking up crowds.
He also outlined a number of attacks against the police which he says are not helping the protesters' cause.
Shea says protesters are throwing bricks and carrying weapons, and he's afraid someone could get seriously wounded or killed.
"You look at the anti-police rhetoric. It disgusts me to my core. We are not perfect. I know there is larger issues in this country. But we are part of the solution and we need everyone watching this to be part of the solution and we need, as I've said before, less press conferences, less tweets, more action, more accountability for your words," Shea said.
The commissioner went on to say officers, elected officials and community members must come together to heal and make a change in policing.
In other parts of the city, signs pointed to protesters going home. Union Square, usually a gathering place for protests in the city, was empty by 8:30, except for a fairly large police presence.
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which has been a stopping area for many of the borough’s protests, quickly emptied out by about 8:15 p.m.
But demonstrators were spotted later in the evening being penned in by police at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.
An officer on Thursday night threatened to arrest NY1’s own Dan Rivoli and his crew while they tried to get footage of demonstrators pinned by police at the location.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has frequently defended the NYPD’s actions during the protests, criticized the department for arresting a delivery worker and journalists, despite essential workers being exempt from the curfew.
But some argue the mayor is to blame for arrests that stem from the curfew. Many elected officials and activists have harpooned the curfew, saying it hampers New Yorkers’ ability to protest police brutality and leads to confrontations between protesters and police officers trying to enforce the order.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson hit the mayor for the curfew Thursday night, demanding he end it and support police reform legislation.
The curfew lasts 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day through Sunday.
Earlier Thursday, more than 10,000 people marched from Cadman Plaza Park across the Brooklyn Bridge to Foley Square. The peaceful demonstration followed an emotional memorial service for George Floyd, killed last week after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”
The service featured tributes from Floyd’s brother, Terrence, activist Rev. Kevin McCall, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom the crowd booed.
At the same time, another memorial service for Floyd took place in Minneapolis, where the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy. He compared the death of Floyd to the history of black Americans.
“The reason we could never be who we dreamed of is because you kept your knee on our neck,” he said. “We were smarter than the schools we were in, but you had your knee on our neck. We could run corporations, but you had your knee on our neck. What happens to [George] Floyd happens every day in America, in every part of American life. It’s time to stand up and say, get your knee off our neck.”
Thursday’s march follows a relatively peaceful night Wednesday, with 180 arrests citywide, mostly for curfew violations. There was, however, a violent attack against three NYPD officers. Officer Yayonfront Jean Pierre was stabbed in the neck and officers Randy Ramnarine and Dexter Chiu were shot in the hands in Brooklyn. All three were expected to recover. The suspect was shot and hospitalized in critical condition. Sources said the attack was not related to the protests.