Protests erupted across the country for a second straight day following the deadly encounter on Monday by four police officers in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd.
Demonstration turned violent on Wednesday and early Thursday.
According to one report, a person was shot and killed at a pawn shop by the store’s owner, as officials urged residents to go home, Minneapolis police said early Thursday.
“Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” Mayor Jacob Frey told The Star Tribune.
“Yes, we’re reeling,” he said. “We are reeling, and I understand the anger and pain, and we need the public’s help in keeping the peace tonight. We need that in order to get through this together.”
Mayor Frey condemned the police officers’ actions earlier this week and yesterday called for charges to be filed in Floyd’s death.
The authorities acted quickly when video surfaced showing a black man in custody indicating that he could not breathe.
In a scene reminiscent of Eric Garner’s 2014 death, the video shows Floyd telling the police officers that he couldn’t breathe as one held him face down on the ground with a knee on the back of his neck for around five minutes.
Floyd says, “Please, man. I can’t breathe.”
The officer then kneels on his neck even as Floyd complains of stomach pains and then begins to lose consciousness.
Bystanders are heard telling the officers to let him up and check his pulse. As bystanders shout their concern, one officer says, “He’s talking, so he’s breathing.”
The video reveals that he stopped talking then grew limp, and shows him being loaded onto the stretcher and taken away.
Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firings of the officers on Twitter, saying, “This is the right call.”
Floyd’s death is under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.
Mayor Frey on Facebook apologized to the Black community for the treatment of 46-year-old George Floyd, who worked security at a restaurant.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey posted.
The situation, as previously indicated, hearkens back to the case of Eric Garner, put in a chokehold as he famously said that he could not breathe. The pleas were ignored and he ultimately went into cardiac arrest and died.
Things were calmer in Sacramento. About 100 people showed up in South Sacramento, protesting and blocking streets during local demonstrations for George Floyd.
There were no arrests, although all lanes of a major Sacramento thoroughfare was blocked for about 30 minutes.
In Los Angeles the seen was more chaotic. Protesters, mostly wearing masks following COVID-19 guidelines, started out peaceful but some became violent with the smashing of windows of a CHP vehicle.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief Alex Villanueva urged protesters to avoid unlawful behavior in a tweet on Wednesday night, saying, “I share in the nation’s outrage over the tragic death of George Floyd. Police brutality is unacceptable under any circumstances, and in order to gain the public’s trust, we have to respect the very rule of law we are sworn to uphold.”
Some on Twitter were quick to note that Sheriff Villanueva is the same sheriff who earlier this month dodged subpoenas to appear before the local oversight board approved March 3 by the voters over his handling of the COVID-19 situation in the local jails.
The Los Angeles police tweeted: “We hear your anger & your pain. We will always facilitate freedom of speech. Period. All we ask is that protests are held in a safe & legal manner.”
In Minneapolis, a community activist, Jamar Nelson, told The New York Times that the Black community long had a fraught relationship with police. “The truth is we do not have a good history,” Nelson said. “The biggest complaint is that the community feels the Police Department is racist, bigoted and uncaring about the Black community.”
Meanwhile, a Star Tribune reporter, Liz Sawyer, said on Twitter that “there is a tremendous amount of anger and pain” in Minneapolis over Floyd’s death.
“Several folks I talked to said they didn’t care whether people agreed with their methods,” including looting and destroying property, Sawyer said.
“We have to get their attention somehow,” she quoted them as saying.
The incident reminded many of the 2014 death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York City police officer, who put him in a chokehold while arresting him. His death, as well as Michael Brown’s, spawned a movement to reform the police.
It had seemed that the incidents had slowed in the last few years, but in the last few months several high-profile police misconduct and officer-involved killings have occurred.
In addition, this comes on the heels of revelations in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was confronted and killed by two white men while jogging in Georgia earlier this year—but the investigation and prosecution of those men seemed inexplicably delayed.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9