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Protests Erupt Nationwide Over Death Of George Floyd In Minneapolis

Protests erupted across the U.S. on Thursday following days of increasingly tense demonstrations in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Floyd died on Monday after a police officer pinned him to the ground for several minutes while he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” The shocking incident, which was captured on video, has prompted a nationwide outcry. The four officers involved were fired, but Floyd’s family, community leaders and protesters are calling for their arrest and an end to police violence.

Demonstrations rocked Minneapolis on Tuesday, Wednesday and into Thursday night, leading to looting and violent clashes with police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. One person was fatally shot.

Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, stressed on CNN on Thursday morning that protests should be peaceful, but he said people were acting out because they are “torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing Black men die. Constantly, over and over again.”

“These officers, they need to be arrested right now. They need to be arrested and held accountable about everything because these people want justice right now,” he said. He called for the four officers to be “arrested, convicted of murder and given the death penalty.”

Videos on social media show a number of protests in cities across the U.S. growing increasingly strained as attendees called for justice for Floyd.

In Minnesota, for the third consecutive night, groups rallied in St. Paul and in neighboring Minneapolis, scattered across the city on street corners, at the intersection where Floyd died and outside the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station, where the officers were believed to have worked. Reports indicated the precinct was breached by protesters Thursday night and nearby buildings were set alight. The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement that the precinct had been evacuated.

Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard as the city braced for the night’s protests.

Huge fire started again in Minneapolis near 3rd precinct #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/qEW2bmWwnV

— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) May 29, 2020

This appears to be the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, surrounded by flames. @kare11 pic.twitter.com/oQHBCROgg4

— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) May 29, 2020

The 3rd precinct police station burns as protesters chant “no justice, no peace” #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/VIEWMgBzD1

— Chris McGreal (@ChrisMcGreal) May 29, 2020

Earlier, groups also stood outside the home and government offices of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who will handle the investigation to demand criminal prosecution of the officers involved: Derek Chauvin, the man who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck; Thomas Lane; Tou Thao; and J. Alexander Kueng. 

Protesters angered by the death of George Floyd stand Wednesday outside the home of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in

Meanwhile, in Louisville, Kentucky, where more than 500 people gathered to protest the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, gunshots were reported just before 11:30 p.m. in the downtown area. At least seven people were shot, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department, with at least one in critical condition. 

“There have been some arrests, but at this time we are not able to tell you how many as the situation is ongoing,” police spokesperson Alicia Smiley said in a statement to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Information on those arrests will be available tomorrow through court records of the arrests.”

Police did not fire their guns, she said. 

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed by police on March 13 when they entered her apartment with a drug warrant looking for someone else. Protesters had for several hours marched peacefully and chanted “No justice, no peace,” but the situation reportedly escalated when some in the crowd tried to flip a vehicle.

Shots ring out (not sure what kind, or by whom) as tensions escalate at a large downtown Louisville protest. @WDRBNews is at 6th and Jefferson with @TravisRagsdale @ChadKMills and @HaydenWDRB reporting pic.twitter.com/OOlcaSxVRD

— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) May 29, 2020

“We came for peace.” pic.twitter.com/zFP8aSvrTt

— Sarah Ladd (@ladd_sarah) May 29, 2020

Louisville pic.twitter.com/LQhBHR0Oyr

— Ryan Van Velzer (@RyanVanVelzer) May 29, 2020

In New York, more than 40 people were arrested Thursday night in Manhattan as hundreds protested police violence. Floyd’s death particularly struck a nerve in the city as it drew grim comparisons to the death of Eric Garner, a Black man whose final words before he died in police custody were “I can’t breathe.”

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, told NBC News that hearing those words again was like “a recurring nightmare.”

NYPD confirms at least four taken into custody so far for civil disobedience during George Floyd protest at Union Square.@PIX11News pic.twitter.com/elYcfsaBNg

— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) May 28, 2020

Peaceful protests across Denver also escalated Thursday evening, after gunshots were fired near the Colorado State Capitol. 

“We do believe that the shots were towards the Capitol, but we do not at this point have any correlation to the protest or the protesters,” Denver police spokesman Kurt Barnes told the Denver Post. No injuries were reported.

Police also fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse hundreds of protesters on the Capitol lawn and on Interstate 25, where protesters blocked traffic.

Several hundred protesters, some carrying signs reading “Black lives matter,” marched through downtown Denver.

A video also appeared to show a car drive through a crowd of protesters downtown and turn to knock over a protester.

Both lanes of I25 are now blocked by protestors in Denver. pic.twitter.com/6XjnQGNR0d

— James Dougherty (@DoughertyKMGH) May 29, 2020

Downtown denver. Some girl turned around to run this guy over #GeorgeFloyd #icantbreathe #downtowndenver #denver pic.twitter.com/eirohGGPr5

— Anabel (@bellers03) May 29, 2020

In California, a protest in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday grew fraught, leading to two police cars being vandalized and one demonstrator hurt, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a statement to the newspaper, the Los Angles Police Department said, “We hear your anger and your pain. We will always facilitate freedom of speech. Period. All we ask is that protests are held in a safe and legal manner.”

A smaller protest was also held in Oakland on Thursday.

Demonstrators block traffic during a protest Wednesday in Los Angeles over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Downtown #Oakland right now. 40-50 loud but peaceful protesters. pic.twitter.com/zFSQRoEi8J

— John Klein (@JohnKlein_) May 29, 2020

In Birmingham, Alabama, more than 100 people gathered to express their anger over Floyd’s death.

“We didn’t come here to be nice tonight. We didn’t come here to play around tonight. Hopefully we are here because we are tired of what’s happening,” Carlos Chaverst, one of the organizers, told local news site Al.com. “We should be fed up with seeing Black men and women being killed in the street by police.”

Peaceful protests in Columbus, Ohio, broke out into chaos Thursday night after people began throwing objects at police, prompting the officers to fire tear gas to push back crowds, NBC4i reported.

Protesters had chanted “Black lives matter” and “Say his name.”

The Ohio Statehouse was reportedly breached after windows were broken.

The crowd is chanting things like “I can’t breathe” and “Say his name”. Half of the group is now on the move heading down Broad St. @nbc4i pic.twitter.com/S173HcF51q

— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) May 29, 2020

NOW: Demonstratirs have moved to the Statehouse grounds and have broken windows. Some have gone inside. @nbc4i pic.twitter.com/VBtVbprA9G

— Eric Halperin (@EricHalperinTV) May 29, 2020

A demonstration in Phoenix also turned out several hundred people.

There, too, people were heard chanting “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.” 

Local reporters shared footage of police equipped with riot gear and tear gas canisters. Zach Crenshaw of ABC15 indicated the situation had grown tense at about 9:30 p.m. local time.

In downtown Phoenix, hundreds peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd after a white police officer knelt on the black man’s neck until he passed out in Minneapolis. Floyd was pleading for his life.

People chanting “I can’t breathe.” “No justice, no peace.” #12News pic.twitter.com/evVvtJJTDf

— JOSH SANDERS (@JoshSandersTV) May 29, 2020

Back-ups continue to arrive in the form of DPS troopers & Phoenix officers in riot gear.
They’re still outnumbered by protestors but the crowd has definitely spread out. @ReverendMaupin is trying, unsuccessfully, to move people away from the standoff zone at the capitol pic.twitter.com/yZ7aZtJwUq

— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) May 29, 2020

DPS troopers are gearing up. A tear gas canister was just readied, bean bag rounds too.
A few in the crowd have been throwing bottles & rocks for past 10 minutes @ABC15 pic.twitter.com/8vltVeCEl9

— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) May 29, 2020

This is the moment protesters smashed a phoenix police cruiser’s rear windshield.
It’s what led to officers jumping out in riot gear & dispersing pepper spray, firing rubber bullets @ABC15 pic.twitter.com/KaTsWFiMAc

— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) May 29, 2020