State police in body armor and riot gear lined up today Friday morning near the Minneapolis police precinct that was set ablaze by protesters overnight following the death of an unarmed black man this week in city officers’ custody.
Donning protective helmets with face shields and carrying batons, they stood near the site littered with debris after a night of confrontations and sprayed mace at protesters who got too close. They responded by throwing projectiles at the officers as others fled.
Fires raged overnight in Minneapolis as crowds shattered windows and charged over a fence to get access to 3rd Police Precinct. They chanted George Floyd’s name and “I can’t breathe,” marching past buildings engulfed in smoke and orange flames.
Others tossed fireworks toward the precinct, which is closest to where Floyd was captured on video with an officer kneeling on his neck Monday before he died. Before state police arrived, the precinct was deserted after officers were evacuated Thursday.
From New York City to Denver and other cities, protesters demanded justice for Floyd, including next door in St. Paul, Minnesota, where more than 170 businesses were damaged or looted, the city’s police department said early Friday. Seven people were shot in Louisville, Kentucky, during overnight protests over a separate case, the death of an EMT during a March police encounter.
Large crowds gathered in communities across the country, even as experts warned people to continue to avoid big gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Floyd a 46-year-old black man, died after pleading for help as a police officer used his knee on Floyd’s neck to pin him — unarmed and handcuffed — to the ground. His death sparked outrage and protests across the country, demonstrations that continued Thursday.
In Minneapolis, hundreds of people gathered outside the police departments Third Precinct. Some protesters brought signs and some threw rocks. A temporary fence in front of the station was knocked over. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags fired at rock throwers.