Home NewsForeign News George Floyd: Protesters set Minneapolis police station ablaze

George Floyd: Protesters set Minneapolis police station ablaze

by OtownGist

A police station in Minneapolis has been set alight during a third night of protests over the death of an unarmed black man in custody on Monday.

A police officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, 46, despite him saying he could not breathe.

President Donald Trump said “thugs” were dishonouring his memory and called on the National Guard to restore order.

Twitter accused Mr Trump of glorifying violence in a post that said: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Mr Floyd’s family have demanded that the four police officers implicated in his death face murder charges. Prosecutors have said they are still gathering evidence.

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The incident has added to longstanding anger over the police killings of black Americans, including the recent case of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

GETTY IMAGES : George Floyd’s death has reignited criticism of the way black Americans are treated by the police

A CNN journalist, Omar Jimenez, and his camera crew were arrested by Minnesota state police officers on Friday morning, reportedly because they did not move on when instructed.

There have also been demonstrations in other US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Memphis.

What is the latest in Minneapolis?

The last few days have seen buildings in Minneapolis burned to the ground or looted.

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On Thursday, protesters gathered outside the police department’s 3rd Precinct, which is near where Mr Floyd died and has been the epicentre of the unrest.

Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd. But the cordon around the police station was eventually breached by protesters, who set fire to it and two other nearby buildings as the officers withdrew.

The police department said the 3rd Precinct was evacuated shortly after 22:00 “in the interest of the safety of our personnel”.

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Later, the city government tweeted that it had heard “unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the 3rd Precinct have been cut and other explosives materials are in the building”. It urged people near the building to retreat for their own safety.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said there had been no choice but to evacuate the police station, adding: “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or the public.”

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The Minneapolis Police Department said the 3rd Precinct had been evacuated

Mr Frey called the rioting and looting “unacceptable”, but he added that he and everyone else recognised there was “a lot of pain and anger” in the city.

He spoke after a tweet from President Donald Trump blamed Thursday’s violence on a “lack of leadership” in Minneapolis and warned that he would send in the National Guard and “get the job done right” if Mr Frey failed to restore order.

National Guard personnel are normally under state control, although they can be put under federal control in emergencies.

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Mr Trump also tweeted: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter placed a “public interest notice” on the message, saying it “violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today”.

Twitter flagged two of the president’s posts as potentially misleading earlier this week, prompting him to issue an executive order seeking to limit the legal immunity of social media firms.

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People angered by the death of George Floyd protested in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday

Before the police station was set ablaze, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had activated the state’s National Guard troops at the request of the mayors of Minneapolis and the neighbouring city of St Paul, declaring the situation a “peacetime emergency”.

He said the looting, vandalism and arson of Wednesday night had resulted in damage to many businesses, including ones owned by minorities.

“George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction,” he said in a statement, calling on all protests to remain peaceful.

George Floyd repeatedly told the police officers who detained him that he could not breathe

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