Minneapolis experienced its third consecutive night of arson, looting and vandalism on Thursday as protesters erupted in anger over the death of George Floyd, who was videotaped as he was unable to breathe and eventually died while being held by a white policeman on the sidewalk.
Contrary to what happened on Wednesday, when protesters throwing stones repeatedly clashed with police, last night the police kept a rather low profile beyond the center of the riots, outside the third district police station.
Several protesters retreated for a while when police on the roof used tear gas and rubber bullets before retreating and attacking the building in front, setting it on fire, while police apparently withdrew. Protesters were later seen on the roof.
A car and two other buildings were also set on fire, while unknown individuals again looted a Target chain store for a second night in a row. The fire brigade had spoken of 16 arson attacks on Wednesday night.
The US President is outraged by the incidents that have taken place in the last few hours.
The new serious riots erupted despite Governor Tim Walz declaring a state of emergency earlier yesterday and mobilizing the National Guard in Minnesota to restore order, following incidents in previous protests over the death of the 46-year-old African-American by the police. Videos taken by witnesses on Monday night show Floyd, with his face on the sidewalk repeating “I can’t breathe, please, I can’t breathe” as a white police officer presses his left knee to his neck. Floyd was brought in because police officers suspected he had tried to use counterfeit $20 bill.
Minneapolis police have made it clear they do not approve of the way its men handled the arrest. “It’s time to move to reconstruction. Reconstruction of the city, our justice system, reconstruction of the relationship between the executives of the law enforcement forces and those who are obliged to protect,” the Governor stated.
President Trump was “outraged” when he saw the video of the tragedy, White House spokeswoman Kylie McKanney said earlier. He immediately “picked up the phone” and took the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ensure that it would immediately begin an investigation into the case, she said, adding that the head of state “wants justice to be done”.
The four police officers involved in the arrest have already been relieved of their duties and fired and local and federal authorities have already announced that they are conducting an investigation. However, no charges have been pressed against them, which feeds the anger of the crowds.