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NEW YORK — Long before George Floyd, there was Robert Bandy.
Bandy was a black Army soldier shot and wounded in New York City by a white police officer in 1943. Amid rumors that Bandy had been killed, Harlem erupted.
There were violent protests, pilfering and a curfew imposed – much like what’s happening in the city, and across the country, today following the May 25 death of Flood, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
The racially charged tension between police and protesters isn’t new to the city. Helmeted officers roughed up protesters in 1968 after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and during riots in 1991 in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn when a young black child was hit and killed by a car driven by a Hasidic Jew.
More discord came in 2014 after another black man, Eric Garner, was heard on video saying his last words —“I can’t breathe” — while in a police chokehold.
Floyd too said, “I can’t breathe” before his death, a scene that put protesters on another collision course with police on the streets of New York.
Demonstrators have also clashed with police over a range of issues, including 1972 anti-war protests in Manhattan and anti-Communist protests against a visit from then-Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1979.