The younger generation is the first in decades to grow up witnessing both police killings and the rise of a national protest movement in response to them, said Matthew F. Delmont, a professor at Dartmouth College who focuses on African-American history. “There’s a sense that this is going to be a turning point,” he said. “They can’t let the intensity go.”
That fervency has proved to be an obstacle for officials trying to restore a greater sense of calm to New York, the nation’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
“If you were to ask anyone who is leading these marches, I’d be surprised if anyone could tell you,” said Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former police captain who has been working behind the scenes to get protest leaders to the negotiation table. “It heads to the point of, ‘Where do we go from here?’ We can’t march for the rest of our lives.”
Over the past weekend, while dozens of protests were held across the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to reach an agreement with demonstrators. He turned to a few familiar faces to discuss ideas for police reform, including Gwen Carr, the mother of Mr. Garner, and established community and religious leaders.
By Sunday, Mr. de Blasio pledged to cut the city’s police budget and spend more on social services, a nationwide demand made by protesters, and he lifted the city’s curfew a day early, citing the peaceful character of the protests. A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio said he made the changes because “he believed it was the right thing to do.”
Ms. Newsome, 35, who founded the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter with her brother, Hawk, said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called a member of her group to negotiate before later announcing he would support the repeal of a law that keeps police disciplinary records secret. The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.