George Floyd Updates: Buildings Ablaze in Minneapolis as Protests Continue Nationwide

Fires burn in Minneapolis when protesters are arrested for defying curfew.

Minneapolis police began arresting protesters who defied a recently issued curfew on Friday night to swarm smoke crossings on the fourth night of protests since George Floyd's death in police custody.

Gunfire rang out near a police station and flames came out of several companies – a gas station, post office, bank, restaurant – while residents continued to show anger, even after a police officer was arrested. accused of third-degree murder.

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Protesters marched peacefully for much of the day in Minneapolis, but demonstrations escalated around 11 pm. Local time, three hours after the curfew came into effect for the first time since Floyd's death. Demonstrations were held in dozens of cities, several of which became destructive, including those in Atlanta, New York and San Jose, California.

In Minneapolis, protesters gathered near the Fifth Police Department's Police Station the day after another police station was seized and burned. Unlike Thursday, the police did not leave the police station, even when shots were fired in the area. Several protesters were arrested for refusing to disperse, the Minnesota Department of Public Security said on Twitter.

In a late-night tweet, Governor Tim Walz urged residents to "return home immediately," saying the streets were not safe for civilians or emergency workers.

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Paul E. Gazelka, leader of the Republican majority in the State Senate, told the news channel KARE 11 that he was frustrated because the police had not acted more quickly to clean the streets.

"You cannot allow anarchy," he said. "You cannot allow this illegality to continue."

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Walz, who activated the National Guard on Thursday, when local police seemed to lose control over angry protesters, extended the curfew to St. Paul and said the guards would return to the streets in anticipation of further protests.

During a press conference on Friday, the governor said the authorities should have anticipated that the protests could turn violent, but he said it is unrealistic to expect law enforcement to prevent people from speaking out, even in the midst of the protests. orders of social distance that have been made. imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Looking at what happened to George Floyd, people were saying, 'Hell to stay home'," he said. "The idea of ​​going in and ending these expressions of sadness and anger was ridiculous."

Walz acknowledged that the Minneapolis police had lost the trust of city residents, but he pleaded with residents to see the National Guard as a peacekeeping force designed to prevent "anarchists" from taking over and destroying more of the city.

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"I need to ask the Minnesotans, those who suffer and who feel justice have not yet been served. You need to help us create the space for justice to be served," said the governor. "It is my expectation that it will be quick."

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The days of protests intensified on Thursday night, when the Minneapolis Police Department police station was overrun by a crowd of protesters, with some people throwing fireworks and other items at the police, while the police fired projectiles from return.

The police retreated in the vehicles just after 10 pm. Thursday, local time, when protesters stormed the building – smashing equipment, lighting fires and setting off fireworks, according to videos published from the scene.

Frey, a Democrat, said he understood the anger of city dwellers, but asked people to stop destroying property and looting shops. "It is just not enough to do the right thing," he said. "We need to ensure that we are all held accountable."

Protesters across the country blocked roads and clashed with police.

Singing “Hands up! Don't shoot "and" I can't breathe ", thousands of protesters gathered in cities across the country on Friday night, after a dismissed Minneapolis police officer was accused of third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

Protesters in many other cities, including New York, also gathered to express their anger:

  • A large crowd in Washington he sang outside the White House, prompting the Secret Service to temporarily lock the building. The social media video showed protesters tearing down barricades and spray-painting other buildings.

  • A march in Houston, where Mr. Floyd grew up, it was briefly chaotic like the windows of a S.U.V. were crushed and at least 12 protesters were arrested. As an impasse continued, the police closed all roads in and out of the city center. "We do not want these young people's legitimate complaints and concerns to be overshadowed by a handful of provocateurs and anarchists," said the city's chief of police, Art Acevedo, in an interview.

  • Pictures of the news helicopters above San Jose, California, it showed protesters throwing objects at police officers, blocking a major highway and setting the city center on fire. Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an interview that he viewed the city as a peaceful protest – what he called people "expressing their just indignation at the injustice in Minneapolis" – has become violent.

  • Protesters in Los Angeles blocked the 110 Freeway, marching through the city center and around the Staples Center. Local television footage showed police officers crashing into a crowd suspected of vandalizing a patrol car. At 9:30 pm, L.A.P.D. he had declared the entire city center an illegal assembly and was warning residents of the loft districts to stay inside.

  • "Black is not a crime," declared a small crowd gathered outside the police headquarters in Detroit. City Council member Mary Sheffield led a chant, proclaiming, "I'm excited. I'm fed up." Later, the demonstration reached more than 1,000 demonstrators, who blocked traffic as they marched along the main thoroughfares of the city center.

  • In the center Dallas, protesters and the police clashed during a city hall demonstration block. Protesters blocked a police vehicle and started hitting the hood. The police finally responded with tear gas, and a flash-bang was heard later.

  • At the Portland, Ore., protesters stormed the Multnomah County Justice Center and started a fire inside the building on Friday night, officials said.

  • Hundreds of protesters converged on Civic Center Park in Denver, waving signs and singing while Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" played over a loudspeaker. Some threw fists in the air and scribbled messages on the floor with chalk, according to a news report.

  • Protesters in Milwaukee it briefly closed part of a main road, according to WTMJ-TV, and protesters shouted "I can't breathe" – echoing Floyd's distressed plea and the words of Eric Garner, a black man who died in New York police custody . 2014.

Dismissed officer is charged with third-degree murder after George Floyd's death.

The former Minneapolis police officer, who was seen on video using his knee to arrest George Floyd, who died shortly afterwards, was arrested and charged with murder, officials said on Friday.

The former officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, said Mike Freeman, Hennepin County attorney. An investigation into the other three police officers who were present at the scene on Monday continues, he said.

Floyd's relatives said in a statement that they were disappointed with the decision not to seek first-degree murder charges. Floyd, 46, died on Monday after pleading "I can't breathe" while Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd's neck in a meeting that was captured on video.

Third-degree murder does not require an intention to kill, according to Minnesota statute, only that the perpetrator caused someone's death in a dangerous act "without considering human life". First and second degree murder charges require prosecutors to prove, in almost all cases, that the perpetrator made the decision to kill the victim.

Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter, a charge that requires prosecutors to prove that he was so negligent as to create an "irrational risk", and consciously seized the chance that his actions would cause serious damage to Floyd or die .

Camille J. Gage, 63, an artist and musician who joined the protests, said she was relieved that Chauvin was accused. "How can anyone watch this video and think it was anything less?" she said. "So blatant disrespect for another living soul."

The events occurred after a night of chaos in which protesters set fire to a police station in Minneapolis, the National Guard was deployed to help restore order and President Trump injected himself into the mix with tweets that seemed to threaten violence against the protesters.

Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, expressed solidarity with the protesters during a press conference on Friday, but said a return to order was needed to raise the voices of “those who express anger and rage and those who demand justice. "and" not those who throw fire bombs ".

A lawyer for Chauvin's wife, Kellie, said she was devastated by Floyd's death and expressed sympathy for his family and those who were suffering his loss. The case also prompted Chauvin to divorce, lawyer Amanda Mason-Sekula said in an interview late on Friday.

President Trump, who previously called the video of Floyd's death "shocking", received criticism for a tweet earlier on Friday that called the protesters "thugs" and said "when the looting begins, the shooting begins" . Comments took Twitter to attach a warning to the tweet, saying it violated company rules on "glorifying violence".

The president made his first extensive remarks about the protests at the White House on Friday, stating that "we cannot allow a situation like the one in Minneapolis to fall further into lawless chaos and anarchy. It is very important, I believe, for the family, for everyone, that George Floyd's memory is a perfect memory. "

Addressing his previous comments on Twitter, Trump said: “Looters should not drown out the voices of so many peaceful protesters. They hurt what is happening so badly. "

A demonstration became destructive in Atlanta on Friday night, when hundreds of protesters took to the streets, smashing windows and clashing with police.

They gathered around Centennial Olympic Park, the city's iconic tourist destination. People were jumping in police cars. Some climbed on top of a large red CNN sign outside the media company's headquarters and sent spray-painted messages. Others threw stones at the glass doors of the Omni Hotel and smashed windows in the College Football Hall of Fame, where people entered and emerged with branded equipment.

Jay Clay, 19, an Atlanta resident and graphic designer, watched the protests across the street with a mixture of curiosity and solidarity.

"After all this injustice and prejudice, people get tired," said Clay. “I wanted to go down and check it out. But it looks like it's getting out of control. "

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for calm as the demonstrations unfolded.

"Enough. You need to go home," she said. "We're all angry. It hurts. It hurts everyone in this room. But what are you changing by destroying a city? You lost all credibility now. That's not how we changed. America. That’s not how we change the world. ”

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also spoke at the press conference, invoking his father's legacy.

“In fact, violence creates more problems. It is not a solution, ”said King. She said she felt and understood the anger of the protesters, but added: “There are people who are trying to incite racial war in this country. We will not fall into your hands and your trap. There is another way. "

As the protests continued, police in riot gear were gathering. At 9:30 pm, tear gas cartridges were launched and a wave of protesters ran back to the park.

Tension increased in New York for the second consecutive night, when thousands of protesters stormed the Brooklyn Barclays Center perimeter, negotiating projectiles for plastic water bottles, debris and tear gas and apples with police officers.

The protest had started peacefully on Friday afternoon, with hundreds singing "black lives matter" and "we want justice" in midtown Manhattan. But the demonstrations took place in Brooklyn, where police officers made between 50 and 100 arrests, said a police officer.

Officers with tie cuffs hanging from their belts stood next to the Department of Corrections buses and vehicles with flashing lights surrounding the perimeter. A police helicopter and a large plane hummed in the hot air above.

Later, protesters were seen throwing water bottles, an umbrella and other objects at police officers, who responded by shooting tear gas at the crowd.

As the crowd dispersed, protesters gathered in the streets of the neighboring Fort Greene neighborhood, continuing to sing at the police. An empty patrol van was set on fire and then ransacked as people tore the doors off their hinges. Fireworks were dropped on the vehicle's burnt carcass. Scrawled on the hood was the phrase "dead policemen."

At 10 pm, the riot police had arrived in the neighborhood. Another police officer described the scene in parts of the neighborhood as "out of control".

In the early evening, several hundred people packed Foley Square, close to the city's criminal courts. After a man in a green sweatshirt crossed a police barricade, he was invaded by police while the protesters shouted. He was taken on foot in handcuffs.

"It was kind of his mistake," said Jason Phillips, 27, from Queens. "But they were trying to push it back, and when they pushed it, it slipped, and they considered it as some kind of threat."

Despite protesters' frustrations on Friday, police said the number of people detained was much less than the night before, when 72 people were arrested.

In a likely statement of cause released on Friday after the charges were filed against Chauvin, prosecutors said the former policeman kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. "Two minutes and 53 seconds were after Floyd didn't respond," said the statement.

However, preliminary autopsy results indicated that Floyd did not die of asphyxiation or strangulation, prosecutors wrote, and that "the combined effects" of an underlying cardiac condition, any intoxicating potential and police restraint probably contributed to his death. He also began to complain that he was unable to breathe before he was arrested, the statement said.

Police officers' cameras were running during the meeting, prosecutors said.

Four police officers responded to a report at around 8 pm. on Monday, about a man suspected of making a purchase at a store with a fake $ 20 bill, prosecutors said. After learning that the man was stationed near the store, the first two police officers, who did not include Chauvin, approached Floyd, a former high school sports star who worked as a security guard at a restaurant in Minneapolis.

Mr. Floyd, who was in a car with two other people, was ordered out and arrested. But when the police started moving him towards a police vehicle, he stiffened and resisted, according to the statement. While still standing, Floyd began to say that he could not breathe, said the statement.

That was when Chauvin, who was among two other policemen who arrived at the scene, became involved, prosecutors said. Around 8:19 pm, Chauvin pulled Floyd out of the car and knelt on Floyd's neck area, holding him on the floor while another policeman held his legs. Sometimes, Floyd claimed, the statement said, "I can't breathe", "please" and "mom".

"You are speaking well," the police said, according to the statement, as Floyd struggled on the floor.

At 8:24 pm, Floyd stood still, prosecutors said. A minute later, one of the other policemen checked his pulse, but he couldn't find it. Chauvin continued to hold his knee to Floyd's neck until 8:27, according to the statement.

The other officers, who were identified as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, are under investigation. Freeman, the county attorney, said he hoped to bring more charges in the case, but offered no further details.

Richard Frase, professor of criminal law at the University of Minnesota, said it was reasonable for prosecutors to accuse Chauvin of third degree murder, as opposed to a more serious form of murder, which would require proving that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd.

Professor Frase said the case against Chauvin appeared to be even stronger than what Hennepin County prosecutors took against Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk in 2017.

Mr. Noor was charged with the same combination of crimes, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and was condemned by both.

In that case, said Professor Frase, the policeman apparently panicked and fired a single shot. "There is a question as to whether he had time to be reckless," he said, referring to Noor. "Here, eight minutes ago."

The criminal complaint against Chauvin, said Professor Frase, did not identify any specific reason for the police to kill Mr. Floyd, who he said was essentially dismissed. first or high school murder, unless additional evidence appears.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the Floyd family, released a statement on Friday calling Chauvin's arrest "a welcome but delayed step on the path to justice". But he said the accusations had not gone far enough.

“We were expecting a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other cops arrested, ”said the statement, attributed to Floyd's family and Crump.

"The pain that the black community feels for this murder and what it reflects on the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spreading across the streets across America," the statement said.

Professor Frase said he hoped Chauvin's lawyers would take advantage of the autopsy's preliminary findings that show that Floyd had not died of asphyxiation, which could form the basis for an argument that there was no way for Chauvin to expect him to die. . But Professor Frase said another common strategy used by police officers facing charges of brutality – arguing that they were in danger – may not convince a jury.

"In that case, there was no one but Floyd in danger," he said. "And there was all this time when it seemed like there was no need to continue kneeling on your neck like that."

The reports were contributed by Victoria Bekiempis, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Audra DS Burch, Jo Corona, Maria Cramer, Julie Davis, Sopan Deb, Richard Fausset, Thomas Fuller, Katie Glueck, Russell Goldman, John Eligon, Matt Furber and Maggie. Haberman, Christine Hauser, Jack Healy, Thomas Kaplan, Michael Levenson, Dan Levin, Neil MacFarquhar, Eric Melzer, Sarah Mervosh, Elian Peltier, William K. Rasbaum, Katie Rogers, Edgar Sandoval, Marc Santora, Nate Schweber, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Marina Trahan Martinez, Neil Vigdor, Mike Wolgelenter and Raymond Zhong.

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