Minneapolis protests escalate as police precinct set on fire, CNN reporter arrested; Trump lashes out at looters on Twitter: What we know
Published 7:45 AM EDT May 29, 2020
A Minneapolis police precinct was torched late Thursday night as protests intensified following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee.
Amid the escalating violence, President Donald Trump criticized the city’s mayor and called protesters “thugs.” Twitter later put a public interest notice on that tweet.
Elsewhere in the deeply shaken city, thousands of peaceful demonstrators marched through the streets calling for justice.
There were protests and rallies across the country, too – including New York City, Chicago and Denver. In Louisville, Kentucky, a protest to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Louisville ER tech shot and killed by police in March, turned violent. Seven people were shot.
Here’s what we know Friday:
State police, national guard clear streets Friday morning
Early Friday, patrols of local and state police and the national guard were clearing the streets around Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct as smoke from the overnight fires billowed.
Video of police and the guard in riot gear and with shields were seen holding lines and marching through the street to push people back.
The heavy police presence came after hours of protests and looting overnight during which little to no police were seen in Minneapolis.
CNN reporter and crew arrested
A CNN reporter and crew were arrested early Friday as state police advanced down a street near the 3rd Precinct.
Correspondent Omar Jimenez was reporting live on “New Day” when police advanced toward him and his crew. Jimenez told police that he was a reporter, showed his credentials and asked where they would like him and the crew to stand so they could continue reporting and be out of their way.
“Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way,” Jimenez said. “Wherever you want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
A response by police could not be heard as Jimenez explained the scene. An officer then told Jimenez he was under arrest. Jimenez asked why he was under arrest, but was taken from the scene. The rest of the crew was then arrested as the live shot continued with the camera on the ground.
CNN said later Friday that Jimenez had been released and that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized for his arrest.
George Floyd video adds to trauma: ‘When is the last time you saw a white person killed online?’
Fires, protesters overtake 3rd precinct
Hours after hundreds of protesters flooded Minneapolis streets – shouting “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace; prosecute the police” – a group of demonstrators overran MPD’s 3rd Precinct, setting “several fires” and forcing officers to evacuate “in the interest of the safety,” according to a police statement.
Protesters celebrated – cheering, honking car horns and setting off fireworks – as fires scorched at the precinct. For hours, police ceded the area to the protesters as windows were smashed, fires lit and buildings looted.
Protesters could be seen setting fire to a Minneapolis Police Department jacket, according to the Associated Press.
Video from Minnesota Public Radio reporter Max Nesterak shared on Twitter showed large crowds around the precinct with rubble and debris thrown about. Nesterak tweeted that Postal Service vehicles were being hijacked.
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Trump calls Mayor Jacob Frey ‘weak,’ Twitter responds with notice
As the city was erupting, President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter, calling the city’s mayor “very weak” and saying that “thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.”
In a tweet just before 1 a.m. ET, Trump said he couldn’t “stand back & watch this happen to a great American City.”
“A total lack of leadership,” Trump tweeted. “Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”
Twitter later put a public interest notice on that tweet.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” the social media company posted.
Trump’s social media order: Rule means agencies can review whether Twitter, Facebook can be sued for content
National Guard activated
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz earlier Thursday activated the National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request. The Guard tweeted minutes after the precinct burned that it had activated more than 500 soldiers across the metro area.
Photos and video on social media showed the National Guard moving through the streets around the precinct early Friday.
Target closes 24 stores in Minneapolis-St. Paul area ‘until further notice’
After multiple videos of looters causing chaos inside a Target store circulated on social media Wednesday night, the Minneapolis-based retailers on Thursday announced closures for 24 of its stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
All of the closures are “until further notice,” Target said in a statement.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community,” the company said. “At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores until further notice. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal.”
Earlier Thursday, dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting.
Minneapolis police at center of George Floyd’s death had a history of complaints
Derek Chauvin, the officer fired for kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and officer Tou Thao, who is seen on the video of Floyd’s arrest standing by, have histories of complaints from the public.
Since December 2012, the officers drew a combined 13 complaints. Minneapolis settled at least one lawsuit against Thao. Since 2006, Chauvin has been reviewed for three shootings.
They were repeatedly accused of treating victims of crimes with callousness or indifference, failing to file a report when a crime was alleged and, in at least one case, using an unnecessary amount of force in making an arrest.
– Kelley Benham French, Kevin Crowe and Katie Wedell
More news on the police death of George Floyd
How did we get here: What happened to George Floyd
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was pinned down by a white police officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck. The incident was recorded on cellphone video that went viral, sparking outrage nationwide.
Floyd died after pleading with officer Derek Chauvin to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck while police were investigating the use of a counterfeit bill at a corner store. Chauvin and the three others officers involved were fired Tuesday.
– Tyler J. Davis
Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for nationwide protests
“The protests must continue, but around the country … protest until something happens,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson said in a visit to Minneapolis, where he called for murder charges over Floyd’s death. He said protests should respect social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who was killed by an NYPD officer, also came to Minneapolis to speak to protesters.
Protesters should continue to take action until charges are announced, Jackson said. He said black people have been “brutalized without consequence” for decades.
– Tyler J. Davis
State and federal authorities promise to investigate Floyd’s death
“That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a press conference. He said investigators needed time to determine if the video showed a criminal offense: “We have to do this right.”
Investigators took an unusual step in announcing an in-progress federal investigation, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said. She joined Freeman and other officials in offering condolences to Floyd’s family and pleading for peaceful protests.
Calling Floyd’s death a “disturbing” loss of life, MacDonald promised a “a robust and meticulous investigation” and said the Department of Justice is making the case a “top priority.”
Contributing: Associated Press; Trevor Hughes, Cara Richardson and Steve Kiggins, USA TODAY.
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