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Day of peaceful NYC marches gives way to clashes after dark

A fourth day of protests against police brutality kept New York City on edge Sunday, as thousands of people marched and many protesters and officers tried to keep the peace after days of unrest that left police cars burned and hundreds of people under arrest.

Demonstrators paraded through multiple neighborhoods, chanting, kneeling in the street, and falling silent for a minute in front of the neon-adorned NYPD station in Times Square in honor of people killed by police.

Through most of the day, in most of the city, a tense truce held, with officers keeping their distance and occasionally dropping to a knee in a gesture of respect.

Police detain protesters as they march down the street during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP PhotoWong Maye-E)

But after dark, there were ugly confrontations. Demonstrators in downtown Brooklyn and parts of Manhattan pelted officers with objects and set fires. Officers charged into crowds to clear streets, sending people sprawling and battering bystanders who couldn't get out of the way. Small groups smashed shop windows and stole merchandise.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had no plans to impose a curfew, unlike other major U.S. cities.

The Democrat credited police for “tremendous restraint," but appointed two city officials to review incidents caught on video, including an officer ripping a man's mask off to spray his face with a chemical and two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators in Brooklyn.

Protesters march down the street during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP PhotoWong Maye-E)

“We all better get back to the humanity here,” de Blasio said. “The protesters are human beings. They need to be treated with tremendous respect. The police officers are human beings. They need to be treated with tremendous respect.”

Since the protests began days ago, at least 790 people have been arrested, 33 officers have been injured and 27 police vehicles have been damaged or destroyed, police said. There were no major injuries reported.

The mayor's daughter, Chiara de Blasio, 25, was among those arrested Saturday night, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Protesters cheer during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP PhotoWong Maye-E)

The arrest report, obtained by the New York Post, said she refused to leave a Manhattan street cleared by officers because people were throwing things. Chiara de Blasio, who is black, was later given a court summons and released.

The mayor, who is white, didn't mention the arrest at his press briefing Sunday. City Hall spokespeople didn’t immediately comment.

Demonstrators marched throughout the city. At a plaza in downtown Brooklyn, hundreds chanted “No justice, no peace," outside the Barclays Center, where the NBA’s Nets play.

Protesters march down the street while some cheer from out of their cars during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP PhotoWong Maye-E)

Marchers chanted “Hands up, don't shoot” — a rallying cry that originated from the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — during a separate, peaceful rally in Queens. In Manhattan, hundreds of people knelt on Fifth Avenue.

Around the city, there were gestures from police officers intended to show sympathy with marchers. A few clapped along with protesters in Manhattan. In Queens, officers knelt with protesters in an intersection as an organizer called out the names of people killed by police.

Those gestures didn't always last. Outside the Barclays Center, two commanders, urged by the crowd to “drop a knee,” did so. But minutes later a small group rushed at a nearby shopping mall, and officers charged into the crowd, beating people with batons in a chaotic scene.

Protesters march down the street during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP PhotoWong Maye-E)

Still, the day's mood was more peaceful than Saturday, when marches devolved into numerous clashes between police and protesters and demonstrators set police vehicles on fire and scrawled graffiti on Manhattan's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said peaceful demonstrations were “hijacked” by people with violent intent.

At a briefing Sunday, the department's top intelligence and counter-terrorism official, John Miller, said some anarchist groups gathered supplies of rocks and bottles and used scouts to spot vandalism targets.

Victoria Machado wears a mask as she arrives to demonstrate at Barclays center on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoKevin Hagen).

New York City lawyers, one of whom went to Princeton, the other to New York University Law School, were hit with federal charges that they threw a Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied patrol car Saturday.

“We’re going to make sure that everyone has the right to peacefully protest and assemble,” Shea said. “But we are not going to tolerate destruction of property, having our officers put into harm’s way or any civilians put into harm’s way."

Similar protests flared around the nation in response to the Minnesota death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.

Police officers stand underneath a sculpture of the globe during a rally in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a protest against the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

Elsewhere in New York, hundreds of people helped clean up Sunday after shop windows were shattered and vehicles torched in Rochester and Albany and Buffalo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the National Guard is on standby and that hundreds of additional troopers were made available to upstate cities.

In Schenectady Sunday, police marched with protesters, with some officers holding signs saying “Black lives matter. Period!” Police Chief Eric Clifford and other officers knelt with protesters. Later, the mayor declared a state of emergency with a 7 p.m. curfew, citing likely civil unrest.

Protesters march a large sculpture of a globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

The New York Civil Liberties Union criticized curfews.

“It isn’t the protesters who need curfews, it’s the police. There is no excusing the police terror we have seen this weekend against protesters,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

The governor said state Attorney General Letitia James will investigate actions by both NYPD officers and protesters.

Protesters march a large sculpture of a globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

At least five burned-out NYPD vehicles that remained near Manhattan's Union Square were towed Sunday. People walked around broken glass on the street to take pictures. But for hours, Sunday's protests were calm.

“Compared to how things turned out yesterday, this is a lot better. This is exactly how things should be,” said Domenic Manning, who spoke at a rally in Union Square. “If you want to get your point across, this is the way to do it. Vandalizing companies and stores, that’s not the way to do it.”

Neighborhood resident Ken Kidd said protesters and police tried to remain peaceful at the start before the stress of a city heavily hit by the coronavirus came out Saturday night.

Protesters march past a large sculpture of a globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

“I think a community can only say ‘Enough’ so many times and the words aren’t heard so then they got to take action and that’s what happened last night,” Kidd said.

Protesters march around large sculpture of a globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

Protesters rally in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

Protesters march a round large sculpture of a globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

Protesters rally in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP PhotoSeth Wenig)

A woman passes by anti-police graffiti spray-painted on the side of a boarded-up store n the SoHo neighborhood of New York, Sunday, May 31, 2020, following a day of protests in the death of George Floyd, died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

A police officer unlocks a barricade protecting a police precinct so a family can pass through, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The precinct is located near the Barclays Center, the site of large protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, which grew violent Saturday night. Floyd died on Memorial Day in Minnesota. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

A glass installer adjusts his face protection mask before installing plywood over the broken windows of a Bang and Olafson store, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the trendy SoHo neighborhood of New York, which was vandalized during protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night. Floyd died Memorial Day in Minneapolis while in police custody. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

A message is perched against the carcass of a burned out police vehicle, Sunday, May 31, 2020, along a stretch of Broadway in Lower Manhattan in New York. Protesters angry over the death of George Floyd vandalized the area Saturday night. Floyd died in polcie custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

A worker installs boards over the windows of a Tiffany's store Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, which was vandalized during protests Saturday night over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died Monday after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

The broken windows of a Chanel store are visible, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York, after they were vandalized Saturday night during a protest. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)