Minneapolis blazed with rage and flames Wednesday night as anti-police protests over the death of George Floyd careened into mass violence and death.
A video showing a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck sparked deep national anger over the incident. Floyd, 46, who told officers he could not breathe, died later Monday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has called for charges to be filed against one of the officers, Derek Chauvin. On Tuesday, police fired Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident, which began with police responding to a call about a man trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill in a deli. The other officers were identified as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Keung, according to WCCO-TV.
After a Tuesday protest that began as a vigil and devolved into a mob attack on a police station, rioters took to the streets again Wednesday to set multiple fires, including one inside an AutoZone store, and looted a nearby Target store.
The AutoZone fire was extinguished, then started again by rioters, who also destroyed a partially built affordable housing development.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 28, 2020
“We want justice, so we out here getting justice our way,” one person said. “We’ll take it in our own hands.”
“We have to get their attention somehow,” another said while spraypainting obscenities on a sidewalk.
Rioters also descended again on the 3rd Precinct police station, where they broke windows until police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The National Guard was eventually summoned to protect the station.
Police officers responding to calls were hit with rocks, bottles and other items.
“If people are there to truly honor the man and his family, this isn’t how you do it, and it’s so disrespectful and it’s heartbreaking,” Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said, according to KTTC-TV.
As of early Thursday, gunfire that erupted during the protests had struck five people.
One person was killed when a pawn shop owner shot a man he told police he thought was burglarizing his shop, KSTP-TV reported. A suspect was in custody.
“Please, please, Minneapolis,” Frey said late Wednesday. “We cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy.”
As of early Thursday, police did not have a count of how many people were arrested.
— Dymanh Chhoun (@Dymanh) May 28, 2020
THE LATEST: Minneapolis shuddered with violence overnight as rioters ignited fires and looted stores all over the city, in contrast to the mostly peaceful protests outside of a South Side police station over the police killing of George Floyd. https://t.co/nIBZtLm7kE pic.twitter.com/Afy3U08z8C
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) May 28, 2020
As light dawns on #Mpls, seeing extensive damage of #minneapolisriots here in Uptown neighborhood. @Target store glass doors, windows shattered. The clothes racks pilfered. It’s a mess inside & out. Hearing a lot of pain directly from city residents right now. #GeorgeFloyd @FOX9 pic.twitter.com/lkl6879mzj
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) May 28, 2020
According to the Star-Tribune, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said she was “disappointed that people feel like the only way to express anger is through destroying our own community. I mean, tomorrow, where are these moms …. going to be able to get food and diapers for their children? We’re in a pandemic. Stores aren’t even open.”
“I do understand the frustration, but you know there’s way to protest, to express your displeasure. And civil disobedience … we know that this exists and it works. We have an entire civil rights movement to justify it. And yeah, I get the anger, but it’s a no-win battle.
“I think, for the most part, the police have remained somewhat restrained, because they have not just flat out started beating people and arresting people and dragging people in the middle of the streets, but the unruliness, the looting, the setting of fire [to] our own community is unacceptable and it’s painful.
“Go home and take care of your kids. Go hug your mama and grandma. Why are you in the streets getting COVID so you can kill your family? Take your a– home now.”
Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll said in a statement, “Now is not the time to rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers. We ask that the community remain calm and the investigation be completed in full.”
The cause of Floyd’s death has not yet been determined, “pending further testing and investigation by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI,” KMSP-TV reported.
CORRECTION, May 28, 2020: An earlier version of this story and headline included an incorrect spelling of Floyd’s last name.
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