Around 500 peaceful protesters gathered at Columbus Circle Friday evening. Some protesters on the Upper West Side even broke out into song and dance. Clusters of protests were reported elsewhere in the city, including a large group marching down Flatbush Avenue on the Prospect Heights/Park Slope border after 9 p.m.
On Thursday, unlike the night before, where police issued more than an hour of warnings, NYPD officers began making arrests in several locations just after 8 p.m..
Police surrounded a 100-person demonstration and made arrests near East 136th Street and Brook Avenue in the Bronx, while on the Upper West Side, about 200 protesters were followed by police as they went north at Central Park West and hit into another line of police at around West 108th Street at around 8:10 p.m.
Police quickly moved in and arrested about a dozen people, including a delivery worker for DoorDash and Caviar was caught up and taken into custody at that site, sparking criticism.
Video of the arrest was posted on social media and prompted condemnation from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called food delivery essential service. He said again on Friday that the NYPD would be reminded of what is essential and that any essential worker doing their job would not be arrested.
"The people of this city need to see that there will be consequences," de Blasio said. He added that any officers found to have done something wrong will face consequences swiftly.
On the Upper East Side, about 10 people were arrested at East 66th Street and Madison Avenue at around 8:30 p.m.
At other spots, like Washington Square Park and near the Plaza Hotel, they made orderly arrests without the batons and riot gear, like a night earlier.
Related: 'No more tolerance:' NYPD breaks up peaceful protests after 8 p.m. curfew
The mayor earlier had declared that "enough is enough" when it comes to protesters demonstrating past the time limit. Still, on Friday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance said his office would decline to prosecute protesters arrested for low level offenses like unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct.
The policy, he said, was to minimize unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system. The District Attorney's office has been working through a backlog of arrests, and as of Friday, the office had finished arraigning people who were arrested Monday or Tuesday.
Thursday night's arrests followed a large afternoon turnout at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where thousands gathered for a memorial service and march to honor George Floyd.
The gathering was emotional, heartfelt and peaceful.
Also Thursday, Commissioner Dermot Shea called for calm amid days of protests and unrest across the city, and also apologized on behalf of the department for the NYPD's "part in racial bias."
Speaking at a news conference, he said the NYPD's use of force was justified, but officials are reviewing about seven instances that may result in discipline.
He said without a doubt, there will be a couple officers suspended.
But Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who witnessed some of the arrests on Wednesday, tweeted, "I can't believe what I just witnessed & experienced. The force used on nonviolent protestors was disgusting. No looting/no fires. Chants of 'peaceful protest.'"
Williams also called the curfew ill-advised and said he was ashamed of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor has said police have used "a lot of restraint" overall and added, "but if there's anything that needs to be reviewed, it will be."
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