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Late-Night Violence Threatens To Define Peaceful San Antonio Rally Against Racial Injustice

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JOLENE ALMENDAREZ | TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO
Speakers took the stage before the marching start to share stories and messages of solidarity.

This weekend, hundreds of people in San Antonio rallied to demand justice for George Floyd -- a black Minneapolis man who died after being forcibly restrained by a police officer -- and bring awareness to issues of police brutality and racial injustice in America.

The largely peaceful protest was marred by confrontations with heavily-armed local militia members claiming to protect the Alamo Cenotaph and a "massive" show of force by law enforcement officers in full riot gear.

Tensions escalated as the night went on, eventually devolving intochaos that provoked an aggressive police response. Windows were broken and stores looted. Officers threw tear gas and fired rubber bullets.

A viral video captured on May 25 of George Floyd in police custody shows then-policeman Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a black man, for over eight minutes as he cries out for help, saying “I can’t breathe” as a crowd of people beg Chauvin to stop. Floyd was unresponsive when paramedics arrived and later pronounced dead.

Marches and rallies erupted across the U.S. in response to the death of Floyd and other black victims of violence in America, including in San Antonio and other Texas cities.

Clashes between protestors, counter-protestors and police have further exposed America’s fraught race relations, issues of systemic racism, police brutality and pervasive injustice for people of color.

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*This interview was recorded on Monday, June 1.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.