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George Floyd Protests Escalate As Luxury Stores Looted In SoHo

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD made hundreds of arrest overnight as protest continued across the country over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Video shows luxury stores, like Chanel, targeted in SoHo. Fireworks were set off and some windows were smashed as large crowds gathered in the street.

Police said approximately 250 people were arrested, six officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and roughly a dozen police vehicles were damaged.

Officers blocked off the area to investigate.

Business owners like Elliott Kurland felt powerless to do anything.

"I was going to come here about 2, 3 o'clock in the morning. My brother said, 'Don't go. You'll get killed,'" Kurland told CBS2's Kevin Rincon.

His Leica SoHo shop on West Broadway was ransacked. For the last seven years he's been selling and repairing cameras in this store, and overnight many were stolen.

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But while assessing the damage, something happened.

Neighbors came in holding boxes of whatever they could salvage. They even locked things up in a back closet.

Christiane Lemieux lives across the street.

"This is a man. This isn't a corporation," Lemieux said. "As much as people want to take things out on corporations, this is also my backyard. These are my neighbors. These are human beings."

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She said she sympathized with demonstrators, saying they have a right to march and to protest, but said what happened here was different.

"Five cars came up. Everybody got out. They had no license plates on the front of their cars. They hit every store in our neighborhood. They got in their cars and drove off," Lemieux said.

She said was organized, and not representative of the peaceful marches seen all over the city, which is why she stepped in to help, alongside her kids, including her 12-year-old son, William.

"Our neighborhood, we all watch out for each other and this matters. And I don't want this to happen, and this is just all too much," William said.

As for Kurland, he was shellshocked, by not just the path of destruction, but by the willingness of strangers to help.

"It's amazing what they did," he said.

While Sunday's demonstrations started peacefully, they once again took a violent turn for the fourth straight night.

There was, however, a rare moment of unity in Times Square. An NYPD officer was seen taking a knee in solidarity and was then hugged by a demonstrator.

"People from all over the place feel the same way," one protester told CBS2. "We're all hurt, we're all tired, and we're all coming together. This is going to happen for a change."

A large group from Bryant Park joined another from Union Square and marched together into Times Square.

"I just love seeing how everyone has come together and just come here to support one another," another protester added.

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Protesters eventually walked downtown across the Manhattan Bridge to meet up with another group in Brooklyn, where scenes were more tense. Some demonstrators staged a die-in protest, and police cars were painted with graffiti.

Throughout the weekend, cameras captured fires, vandalism and looting.

Police arrested 27-year-old Samantha Shader, of Catskill, for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into a police van with officers inside. She was charged with attempted murder.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said officers will be investigated as well, after video showed an NYPD cruiser lurching into a crowd near Prospect Park. Protesters had been hitting the car with debris.

"These acts of the NYPD wielding multi-ton vehicles against protesters undermines the effort to make our streets safer," said Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Connor DiAquoi.

The mayor said the incident is under internal investigation by the NYPD, but the state attorney general will also look into cases where officers appeared to react with aggression.

He initially said there was no plan for a curfew, but later Monday one was imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from 11 p.m.-5 a.m.

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