Protests over the latest death of a black man in the United States (US) at the hands of the police turned violent overnight, including the looting of shops with multiple fires to building premises. The scenes in Minneapolis, in the State of Minnesota, came as anger spilled over when death of George Floyd was caught on camera after police effected an arrest and then held him face down on the ground with a knee to the back of his neck.
The clip below might upset some people:
He called out for his mama. George Floyd needs justice. People like these policemen are supposed to protect America? Everyone, no matter their skin colour, deserve to be treated as a human. #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/hQs9TcaqPw
— ɴɪᴄᴏʟᴇ (@nxcole_eliza) May 28, 2020
Demonstrations that initially started peacefully continued into early Thursday with violent scenes of chaos. Multiple fires set; stores were looted; a department store emptied of stock and a police station pelted with projectiles by hundreds enraged by Floyd’s death with police at times using teargas to disperse the crowds.
“We’ve had a number of fires set. We’ve had a good deal, a good amount of looting, or a bad amount of looting, actually, and just widespread civil disobedience. And it’s unfortunate. It’s sad if people are there, truly there to honour the memory of the deceased and their family, this isn’t how you do it,” says John Elder of the Minneapolis Police Department.
In the widely circulated video of Floyd, already handcuffed for a non-violent charge and held down for around 10 minutes with a knee to the back of his head, one can hear his cries for help while the policemen around him remained unmoved.
Protesters descend on the streets of Minneapolis for a second night over the death of George Floyd
Stores including Wendy's, Target, Walmart and AutoZone were looted, ransacked and some set alight before rioters tried to bust open an ATM
— 28 Days Later (@VGKnightinArmor) May 28, 2020
The four officers involved were immediately fired as the FBI and Justice Department opened an investigation into the incident.
“I certainly have said publicly as well that what I observed, those actions from those former four officers in no way reflect the values and the vision and the culture that I want to change here in the Minneapolis police department and that so many of our men and women work each day to build those relationships of trust,” says Madaria Arradondo, who is the Minneapolis Police Chief.
As pressure builds on the officers to be charged, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says he is calling on the County attorney to act on the evidence provided.
“I’m calling on Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman to act on the evidence before him. I’m calling on him to charge the arresting officer in this case. We are not talking about a split-second decision that was made incorrectly. There’s somewhere around 300 seconds in those five minutes, every one of which the officer could have turned back. Second of which, he could have removed his knee from George Floyd’s neck,” says Frey.
DONT BE SILENT!! WE ALL HAVE A PLATFORM ON THIS APP WEITHER U HAVE 100 followers or 20k.SPEAK UP!! WE WANT JUSTICE FOR THIS MAN AND HIS FAMILY !! HIS LIFE WAS TAKEN AND THEY DONT CARE. SAY HIS NAME OUT LOUD. GEORGE FLOYD. HE IS NOW LYING DEAD AND CANT BREATHE. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/PNyFsbzZND
— Jay#-1 ༄♡𝐉𝐚𝐢𝐝𝐞 ⁷ (@koosfairiee) May 28, 2020
US President Donald Trump on Twitter called Floyd’s death very sad and tragic, adding that he’d asked for the investigation to be expedited, promising that justice would be served.
His death is just the latest in a string of violent incidents against Black people in these United States, including the shooting by two white men of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia this past February while he was out jogging.
The suspects, in that case, have been charged with felony murder. Incidents that stir up memories of Treyvon Martin in Florida in 2012, to Eric Garner in New York who’s dying words in 2014 echoed those of George Floyd’s in 2020 “I can’t breath, I can’t breath.”