Shops were looted, buildings set alight and one man was shot and killed during a second night of protests in Minneapolis over the death of an unarmed black man who was seen gasping for air as a police officer knelt on his neck.
Protests that began peacefully on Tuesday turned violent on Wednesday night and spread to Tennessee and California, where hundreds of people blocked a motorway in Los Angeles and some attacked police cars.
Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, demanded the arrest of the police officer who knelt for at least eight minutes on the neck of George Floyd.
“Why is [he] not in jail?” he said. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.”
ICONIC IMAGE (right) that has sparked race riots and threatens to turn ugly. This is a picture of a white American police officer, DEREK CHAUVIN, kneeling with his full weight on the neck of a black American citizen, GEORGE FLOYD, for eight minutes until Floyd dies of suffocation after four minutes. Floyd’s last words: “I CAN’T BREATHE!”
As the protests escalated, the Mayor asked the governor of Minnesota to deploy the National Guard. “Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” he tweeted early yesterday morning.
A car parts shop and a supermarket were set on fire along with a block of flats under construction. Video taken by a reporter for the Minnesota Star Tribune showed riot police guarding a police station from an angry crowd, a street barricade set alight and fireworks being shot at officers. Looters were seen emerging from a Target store carrying televisions.
John Elder, a police spokesman, said that 8,000 people had protested peacefully on Tuesday but on Wednesday there had been three arrests for burglary and looting. A man had been shot at a pawn shop and died in hospital, he added, and an arrest had been made. Police were accused of heavy-handed tactics on Tuesday.
Mr Floyd, 46, a security guard for a restaurant which has been closed during the pandemic, was arrested on Monday evening outside a grocery store called Cups Foods where he had allegedly tried to use a counterfeit dollars 20 note. A police report said officers were told he “appeared to be under the influence”. It said he “physically resisted officers”, who handcuffed him and then “noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress”.
However, video from a security camera outside Cups Foods shows Mr Floyd walking over to a wall in handcuffs, leaning against it, and apparently co-operating with an officer. A video shot by a bystander moments later shows him face-down in the road, still in handcuffs, with an officer named Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck.
Another officer appears to complain that he will not get into the car, but there is little sign that he poses a danger. About four minutes into the video Mr Floyd loses consciousness.
The officer continues to kneel on his neck until a paramedic motions for him to step aside. Mr Floyd is then loaded, still unconscious, onto a stretcher.
Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cups Foods, said later that his teenage son, who had called the police, saw no sign of Mr Floyd resisting arrest.
Mr Frey called for police body-camera footage to be released “as soon as possible”. He said kneeling on a suspect’s neck was not part of police training and “should not be used, period”.
The four officers involved in the arrest have been fired and the death is being investigated by the FBI and by a state agency.
LD: Here is a comment I have received in my inbox from a correspondent with the initials K.P. Make of it what you will.
“Meanwhile, on another front, White American icon Taylor Swift accuses President Trump of “stoking the fires of White supremacism” by threatening to shoot black looters when it was a racist White cop who started all the f***ing violence in the first place. The point is: will this evil sadistic white cop be prosecuted for willful murder, as the outraged black community justifiably demands? Or will he get off lightly with a slap on the wrist?
This is the crucial question, because the black community wants to see justice done and will not be fobbed off with the usual platitudes to “keep calm”. They will go on rioting until they are appeased with some semblance of justice. White men MUST NOT BE ALLOWED to kill black folk with impunity . . . because if they are, they will go on doing it until something is done to rein in the evil white f***ers!
DEATH TO THE WHITE SUPREMACIST SCUM !!!”
I’m not sure if K.P. is black or white, male or female, but I speculate this is a very angry black female who is baying for white blood and wants to see justice done. [LD]