Violent protests continued across the United States in the aftermath of the killing of a black man by police in Minneapolis.
The arrest and charging of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who’s knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck led to his death, has done little to quell anger on the streets, just the latest in a string of violent acts against black people in the United States.
At least 20 states and multiple cities across the country saw violent protests, from Minneapolis, to Atlanta while in New York, reports of more than 50 arrests overnight.
The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to 30 fires across the city, the fourth day of protest after the death of George Floyd caught on camera sparked outrage. The National Guard had already been activated in Minneapolis where an overnight curfew was completely ignored as law enforcement struggled to cope with large crowds.
Governor of Minnesota Tim Walz says he fully understands the on-going rage.
“I myself can fully understand the rage. I spoke this evening to George Floyd’s siblings quite extensively. I understand that rage, we’ve talked about it. We understand what has to happen. What is not that. The disfranchisement that went with what we witnessed with George’s death is one thing but the absolute chaos but this is not grieving. This is not making a statement that we fully acknowledge needs to be fixed. This is life-threatening and dangerous to the most well-qualified forces that are out there,” says Walz.
Tear gas was dispatched into crowds while several protestors were arrested, some stopping traffic on major roadways. A fire at a bank spread to the post office while trash dumpsters were also set alight, scenes of absolute chaos with law enforcement completely outnumbered by the sheer volume of demonstrators.
“I’m deeply concerned with the people, you need to go home. You need to go home. The purpose of this, and we are seeing it spread across the country is making it more difficult to deal with these issues. This is not about George’s death. This is not about inequities that are real. This is about chaos being caused. The folks out there right now want nothing more than to entice into conflict. Entice something that sets us off even further. Entice our folks into a situation where we start to lose life,” says Walz.
SABC News’ US Correspondent updates on the US violent protests:
In Atlanta, Georgia, the CNN headquarters was targeted, its building defaced, rocks hurled through windows as police watched on while multiple patrol vehicles were smashed. Georgia has declared a State of Emergency while in Detroit, Michigan, a 19-year-old man died after someone in an SUV fired shots into a protesting crowd.
All this while the former police officer at the centre of the Floyd killing was arrested and charged with third-degree murder as Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced earlier.
“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged by the head of our county attorney’s office with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder. We are in the process of continuing to review the evidence. There may be subsequent charges later,” explains Freeman.
The Associated Press reports that the Pentagon has ordered the army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units at the ready to deploy. Police struggled to manage swelling crowds in New York where an NYPD van was torched. The mother of Eric Garner who died after an NYPD officer placed him in an illegal chokehold in 2014 spoke at one of the protests.
“You know, five or six years ago, my son was murdered. We were doing the same thing. Now we have to be here for George Floyd. Enough is enough. They have to stop coming into our neighborhoods and brutalizing, terrorizing and murdering our young men and women. And then they don’t do enough. They’re seen on camera, like with my son. It was outright murder. With George Floyd, outright murder. And the same things keep happening over and over again,” says Gwen Carr.
In Washington, protests outside the White House caused the Secret Service to impose a lockdown of the precinct with protests expected to continue through the weekend.
Former American Ambassador Charles Stith reacts Floyd’s death and protests: