Minnesota Police Precinct Building Set On Fire As George Floyd Protests Spread Nationwide
Protesters in Minneapolis broke through a fence and set fire to a police station Thursday night as rage ignited across the country over the death in police custody of George Floyd, whose last words were “I can’t breathe”.
The police department’s 3rd Precinct building, two miles from where an officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck Monday, was taken over by protesters late Thursday night. Fires were set inside and outside the building.
Floyd, a 46-year-old restaurant worker, was arrested by Minneapolis police after they thought he fit the description of someone who allegedly wrote a bad check at a Minneapolis grocery store.
The 3rd precinct apparently anticipated earlier Thursday on the fourth day of protests that it might have a problem. It erected a fence around the building, removed the U.S. flag from the precinct’s pole at about 11:30 a.m. and evacuated its staff, according to a statement. Thousands of protesters crowded around the precinct, climbing up the building and lighting it on fire.
“The precinct is on fire. We don’t know where the police are,” said CNN National Correspondent Sara Sidner. “The fire alarm is going on inside … People are cheering and more fireworks are going off as the police precinct is burning.”
Four officers were fired but none have been arrested after a witness’ video shared on social media showed Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck in the street Monday while he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and begged for his life.
“I would like those officers to be charged with murder, because that’s exactly what they did,” Bridgett Floyd, George Floyd’s sister, said on NBC TV.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he could not understand why the officer has not been arrested who pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck until the man went limp and appeared to have blood running out of his nose.
“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail? If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now,” Frey said. “Based on what I saw, the officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd should be charged.”
A prosecutor warned that there is “evidence that does not support criminal charges” of the four police officers.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he’s not in a “rush” to charge the four officers involved in Floyd’s Monday arrest because “justice cannot be rushed.”
“My job, in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge,” he told reporters at a news conference. Freeman’s office later clarified, saying “Evidence not favorable to our case needs to be carefully examined to understand the full picture of what actually happened.”
Thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand justice in cities throughout the U.S.
In downtown Los Angeles, during two days of protest, demonstrators damaged a police car.
In Ohio, protesters breached the statehouse in downtown Columbus. In Denver, a car was filmed ramming a Black Lives Matter protester and shots were fired at the Colorado State Capitol where hundreds had marched.
On social media, there was overwhelming support for the protesters.
“Black people have every right to burn down a country they built for free,” Solomon Georgio tweeted.
Martin Luther King III tweeted, “As my father explained during his lifetime, a riot is the language of the unheard.”