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Hundreds rally in Hartford to protest police killings

Hundreds rally in Hartford to protest police killings

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hundreds of people marched to the Hartford police headquarters Monday to protest police killings of black people, including George Floyd, who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee on his neck for several minutes.

Demonstrators chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and held signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd.”

Rallies also were held in other towns including Manchester and Bristol. The demonstrations came after a weekend of mostly peaceful protests across the state.

Waterbury police arrested 28 people on Sunday, mostly for minor offenses including blocking roads, authorities said. Police said it appeared the people who were arrested were not part of the peaceful main rally earlier in the day organized by Black Lives Matter. No injuries or major property damage were reported.

New Haven police late Sunday sprayed an irritating chemical on some protesters who tried to get into headquarters, officials said. Early Monday, someone threw a flaming homemade device at a police substation, causing no major damage or injuries, police said.

Cities in the state have been largely spared from the violent confrontations and property damage in other cities nationwide in response to Floyd’s death.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, however, said Waterbury police and state police in Bridgeport undermined health and safety by responding to peaceful protests in riot gear and making arrests.

Videos showed Waterbury police tackling peaceful protesters, said David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.

Protesters blocked Interstate 84 in Waterbury and Interstate 95 in New Haven on Sunday. No arrests on the highways were reported. State police arrested two people Saturday in Bridgeport when a crowd blocked Route 8.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday that he was gratified that nearly all the demonstrations in Connecticut have been peaceful.

“I am with the people standing up saying ‘How can this continue?’” he said in an interview with WNPR.

State police released a statement Monday condemning the Minneapolis officer’s actions that led to Floyd’s death.

“We are sad, we are angry and we are disgusted,” state police said. “We’re disgusted that anyone wearing a police uniform would do what we all saw in that video. We’re angry that the actions of a few will affect all of us. ... To our community, please know that we are more than a uniform, we are ordinary people and we stand with you.”