Protests hit New York after black man choked to death in police custody

Protesters have taken to the streets for a second consecutive day in New York over the death of African American man, Daniel Prude, in police custody, as authorities confirmed the police killing of a man who was suspected of the fatal shooting of a supporter of President Donald Trump during anti-racism rallies in Portland.

Prude died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes while he was handcuffed and naked.

He passed away March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester.

His death received no public attention until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released the police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.

Protesters gathered in Times Square on Thursday evening for a second straight day, chanting Prude’s name as speakers shouted: “Say his name!”

A group of protesters also gathered outside Rochester’s Public Safety Building on Exchange Boulevard to protest police brutality. Demonstrators were sitting, singing, chanting slogans.

Late in the evening, dozens of police officers, who were joined by around 20 reinforcements wearing riot gear, suddenly surged toward the crowd while firing an irritant of some type into people.

This prompted the protesters to push into the barricade toward the police, shouting “Why? Why?”

Police fired the irritant again toward them and protesters finally rushed the barricade and dismantled it.

Police retreated into the Public Safety Building, but returned after a short time and started firing and moving into the protesters, some of whom fell to the ground.

Rochester, in Western New York, became the latest scene of protests against police brutality and anti-racism across the nation that have been roiled by police killings of Black people, including the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Federal forces kill suspect in Portland shooting of Trump supporter

A man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of President Donald Trump in Portland, last week, was killed by federal troops on Thursday, a senior Justice Department official told The Associated Press.

Federal agents killed Michael Forest Reinoehl, while trying to arrest him in Lacey, Washington, the official said.

Michael Forest Reinoehl (file photo)

Reinoehl was the suspect in the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was shot in the chest Saturday night.

Federal agents had located Reinoehl on Thursday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

“As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” said Ray Brady of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

He said four officers fired their weapons.

His death came on the same day that Vice News published an interview with Reinoehl in which he said that he ‘had no choice,” but shooting Danielson.

“I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,” Reinoehl said.

Danielson clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality in Portland.

Reinoehl had been a presence at the protests in Portland, Oregon, the scene of some 100 consecutive days over the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.

Floyd’s death sparked similar protests across the country, but it is in Portland that anti-racism protesters remained on the streets practically every night.

“If we want to change the system, refuse this systematic racism, we need to keep on saying it in the streets at least until the election,” a demonstrator told AFP.

He accused Trump of inflaming racial tensions, saying “the country has never been so divided.”

Trump has deployed his federal force to the city to crackdown on the protests.

On Wednesday, he signed a memo, directing federal officials to cut funding to Democratic cities he described as “lawless zones,” including Seattle, Portland, New York and Washington.

“My administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump wrote in the memo.

US confronting ‘original sin’: Biden

In a related development, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Thursday that the recent anti-racism protests could help the US confront centuries of systemic racism.

 “We’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to be addressing the original sin of this country, 400 years old … slavery and all the vestiges of it,” Biden said.

He made the remarks in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has recently been the scene of protests and violent clashes with police, over the police shooting of African American Jacob Blake.

Blake remains hospitalized after being shot in the back seven times by a white Kenosha police officer on August 23. His family says he has been paralyzed from the waist down.

Biden, who had a private meeting with Blake’s family, said, “I think the country is much more primed to take responsibility.”

He also criticized his Republican rival, Trump for his sweeping condemnations of anti-racism protesters.

Trump has accused Biden of supporting riots. Biden, however, has repeatedly condemned violence.

The president, who also paid a visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, didn’t even mention Blake. He refused to acknowledge systemic racism and instead deployed his federal troops to crackdown on protests, he described as “domestic terror,” in Wisconsin, Portland and some other cities.

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