was a photojournalist for many years and my mom is still in the journalism industry, so they were very interested in going and just seeing, getting the story. So all three of us went together.
First we saw helicopters heading downtown, along Broadway. And Broadway south of Houston Street, the downtown area, is essentially where a lot of the big-box stores in Manhattan are—Bloomingdale’s, Uniqlo, that kind of thing. We walked south on Broadway first and we started to see a lot of smashed windows. We saw a police car that had been burnt out. We walked south for a while, and then we saw more helicopters that looked like they were hovering above Union Square. We wanted to find an actual protest to show our support, so we walked north. We made it to maybe 12th Street, right around where the Strand Bookstore is—and then we started seeing a bunch of people with signs chanting. The police way outnumbered the protesters—there were maybe 75 people, and there were probably one hundred policemen. Then the police announced over a loudspeaker, “This has become a violent protest, disperse now,” etc. At this point, the curfew was not yet in place. So they didn’t have that as a reason to disperse us.
They started to move us down onto a side street on 12th Street that cuts across. Now I know that that’s something called kettling, I didn’t know it then. But basically they herded all of the protesters onto this small side street, where they blocked it off. There were police in front and then another band came along the avenue on the other side. So we were kind of trapped. At that point all the protesters took a knee on 12th Street and it basically stopped there for, I would say, maybe fifteen minutes—with people taking a knee, chanting George Floyd’s name and demanding justice. And there was a band of protesters towards the front, which is where I was. And then a band of policemen facing off directly for the protesters. It was truly just two lines facing each other. We were just chanting at them, and they weren’t saying anything back, so it was kind of paused for a while.
As we were there another protest group sort of came up from the back— and I’m not quite sure how that happened because there were police on the other side—but somehow they got through and this other group came from the back, chanting more things. So we had more people now but at some point, from that group in the back, someone threw a plastic water bottle over the protesters and onto the police side. At least I think that’s what it was.