Minnesota Calls National Guard to Quell Violent Protests in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has declared a state of emergency Thursday as protests raged and a police station burned in the tension-filled city where an African American man died in police custody Monday night.Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has called out the National Guard to try to prevent a third straight night of violence. Five hundred soldiers have been “activated,” the National Guard said late Thursday, and will be deployed to Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding communities.Late Thursday, after hundreds of demonstrators had marched peacefully, a Minneapolis police precinct went up in flames. Reporters on the scene said the police presence at in the area had been reduced to “zero” and they were unsure where the police were. Posts on Twitter indicated the police station had been abandoned. Firefighters were also absent. Meanwhile, the city warned that officials had unconfirmed reports that gas lines had been cut and that the building could explode.We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building. If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) Police move through an area during demonstrations May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn.The officer restraining Floyd urged him to “relax,” but the officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck after Floyd stopped moving. One witness said he heard Floyd calling out for his mother before dying.Because of Floyd’s “I can’t breathe,” his death was quickly compared to that of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in New York who died in 2014 after a white officer placed him in a chokehold while he begged for his life. Garner also told officers “I can’t breathe,” and the cry became a national rallying point against police brutality.Rallies were also taking part in other cities Thursday. The Associated Press reported that hundreds of demonstrators stood in the downtown streets and chanted as darkness fell outside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, where protesters spray-painted graffiti and broke car windows.AP reported that cellphone video shot by protester Anabel Escobar, 29, showed a man on the hood of an SUV making its way through the crowd in front of the Capitol. The video showed the driver speeding up and then apparently trying to run the man over after he fell off the hood. The vehicle sped away as other protesters chased it. It was unclear if the man on the hood was injured.Downtown denver. Some girl turned around to run this guy over People pour milk onto the face of an injured man to wash pepper spray out of his eyes during a protest outside the Third Police Precinct on May 28, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minn.The windows of nearly every store surrounding the Target were smashed and a hamburger restaurant was burned to the ground.Police in riot gear fired tear gas to break up a crowd demonstrating outside a Minneapolis police precinct. The building and one police car were damaged.No serious injuries were reported, but Minneapolis police have arrested a suspect they said shot and killed a man he believed was trying to loot a pawn shop.Some residents who live near the looted stores strongly criticized the police but said they cannot understand why people are destroying their own neighborhood, including places where they shop.In New York City, the Associated Press reported, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings Thursday, clashing with police. Demonstrations also took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.Floyd’s death drew international attention.U.N. High Commissioner for Human Right Michelle Bachelet said U.S. authorities have a duty to ensure that justice is done as she read off the list of black men who have lost their lives in U.S. police custody over the last few years.“In too many cases in the past, such investigations have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures,” she said.A protester washes her eyes May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests over the death of George Floyd, the black man who died in police custody, continued .While Bachelet said the “entrenched and pervasive” racism in the United States must be recognized and tackled, she also said more violence and looting will not solve the problem.“I urge protesters to express their demands for justice peacefully, and I urge the police to take utmost care not inflame the current situation even more with any further use of excessive force.”Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told CNN Thursday that he is “tired of seeing black men die” and urged protesters to maintain peace. He called on police to “start doing your job the right way, because I haven’t been seeing it. … I want justice. I just want justice,” he said, he fighting back tears.Frey said Thursday that the violent reaction to Floyd’s death is the “result of so much built-up anger and sadness … that has been ingrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years,” a reference to slavery and subsequent racism.Frey is white, and the city he leads is close to 64 percent white, according to the U.S. Census. Only about 19 percent of the city’s residents are African American.Floyd’s death comes weeks after three people were charged with the fatal shooting in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery. The African American man was killed in February, allegedly by a white former Glynn County police officer and his son who apparently mistook Arbery for a burglar while he was jogging. The two were charged only after a video of the shooting emerged several weeks later. The man who shot the video was charged.

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