On May 25, George Floyd died at the hands of Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin. He was suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill and officers claim he resisted arrest. Events that followed will be known in history as Minneapolis Riots.
The Murder Of George Floyd
Around 8 PM on May 25, police responded to a “forgery in progress”. They found George Floyd in a nearby car and apprehended him. As he appeared to be suffering from a medical distress, they called for ambulance.
Shortly after, a video showing officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on top of Floyd went viral. In the video, Floyd appeared to be saying that he can’t breathe and several people gathered yelled to the police that they were hurting him.
When the ambulance arrived, they noted that Floyd was unresponsive and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
On May 28, a surveillance video surfaced showing that George Floyd did not resist arrest.
The next day, May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman, who charged Chauvin, indicated that he anticipates three other officers being charged as well.
Minneapolis Protests Turn To Minneapolis Riots
Although initial protests started peaceful, things gradually took a darker turn.
Minneapolis Riots Timeline
On May 26, hundreds of citizens of Minneapolis marched in protest to the 3rd Precinct police station. Although initially a peaceful protest, police responded with force after their building was vandalized with graffiti. Police in riot gear released chemical agents into the crowd around 8 PM.
Protests continued into May 27 and police fired rubber bullets into the crowd. Several people were struck by these bullets and many were victims of a chemical irritant as well.
In the early evening, a man carrying a black umbrella and a gas mask is seen smashing the windows of a local Auto Zone. Although rumors on social media indicated that he was a Saint Paul police officer, Saint Paul PD denied those rumors.
Nonetheless, that same Auto Zone would later be set ablaze by the crowd and almost completely destroyed. A nearby Target was also heavily burglarized. Several videos on various social media platforms show people stealing television sets, other electronics and violently breaking into Target’s safes. A small fire was also set inside the store.
As the violence and looting continued, one man was shot and killed by a store owner who claims he was being burglarized.
On May 28, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey issued a state of emergency and 500 Minnesota National Guard troops were deployed to the Twin Cities area.
That morning it was reported that over 30 stores and businesses have been damaged in the Minneapolis Riots. A similar situation occurred in nearby Saint Paul where 170 businesses were reported to have been damaged as a result of riots.
On the evening of May 28, protesters near the 3rd District police station set adjacent buildings on fire and tore down the fencing surrounding the facility. Quickly the police station itself was overrun and set on fire despite police fighting back with tear gas.
CNN reported that there was no police presence in the area from 10 PM on May 28 to the early hours of May 29. Meanwhile, Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference regarding the riots in which he strongly condemned the rioters. He declared their actions as unacceptable and stated that they will face consequences.
Another controversial event occurred in the early morning of May 29 when a CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested while live on air. The police officers claim the crew did not follow instructions and were arrested because of it. However, as the event was broadcast live on television, it is evident that Jimenez and his crew were repeatedly showing their press identifications and asking the police for instructions.
CNN issued a statement in which they strongly condemned the arrest and call for their immediate release. They underline that the arrest violated the First Amendment rights of the reporters.
Both Jimenez and the reporting crew were later released following an intervention from the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz.
Events In Other Cities
Following several race-motivated incidents across the US, like the murder of Ahmed Arbury, the citizens did not take kindly to another.
On May 27, protesters in Los Angeles occupied the 101 Freeway for an hour before heading to the downtown area. One man was injured after clambering atop a California Highway Patrol cruiser, which sped off as protesters bashed in the rear windshield.
On May 28, in Louisville, Kentucky, citizens protested the murder of Breonna Taylor. Here, events took a grim turn when 7 people were shot. The shooter or shooters are still unknown.
Similar events took place across America in cities like Denver, New York, Phoenix, and Columbus.
Even President of the United States took to Twitter to express his feelings towards the event saying the following:
“….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
This statement was so controversial that Twitter censored it for glorifying violence to which Trump responded with threats to shut down the site.