NEW ORLEANS — For the fourth time in five nights protesters took to the streets of New Orleans to march in protest of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other grievances against police over the death of black people that have made headlines the last few years.
This time though, the NOPD ended things early when they threw tear gas into the crowd of hundreds or perhaps thousands of people who marched on to the Crescent City Connection, the city's main traffic connection between the east and west banks of the city.
"The NOPD deployed teargas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC," said the NOPD in a Tweet. "NOPD is committed to our residents' First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating physical confrontation with our officers."
Bryn Stole of The Times-Picayune said that he talked to at least one protester that said the NOPD did not warn before throwing the gas into the crowd, but a protester interviewed by WWL-TV's Erika Ferrando said protesters warned her to wet her mask before they were tossed, indicating at least some of the protesters had an idea what was coming.
"All of a sudden it was like three canisters, they were just throwing," said one woman who was on the CCC when it happened. "Immediately I couldn't see anything. I could barely breathe... They told us to wet our masks (the other protesters) right before they teargassed us... so that the water would hold the powder and everything."
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell sent out a tweet that did not mention the teargas but did seem to show support for the NOPD's actions.
"We want you to be heard. We need you to be safe. We must hold on to what has gotten us this far - peaceful protest, restraint and respect. None of us wants this to escalate. The only way out is through and we will get through this together. Please go home, be safe."
The scene of protesters running as gas filled the air was in stark contrast to Tuesday's scene on I-10 when NOPD officers met protesters and then took a knee in apparent solidarity.
Floyd's death and the delay in arresting the officer who knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes have caused the protests to erupt around the country.
Protests in New Orleans had been among the more peaceful ones with police often closing the roads for marchers and Tuesday night officers even knelt when they met with protesters who closed down I-10 temporarily for traffic.