Protests over death of black man after police arrest spread to LA

Protests over the death of a black man who was killed after a white police officer pinned him to the ground have spread to Los Angeles – as Donald Trump said the FBI are investigating.

George Floyd died on Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck for at least eight minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note in a shop.

Mr Floyd, 46, who was shirtless and unarmed, can be heard in the widely-circulated mobile phone footage saying he could not breathe, before paramedics are seen lifting the limp man on to a stretcher and into an ambulance.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Minneapolis police arrest man who later dies

Video shows officer kneeling on man who later died

Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police firing tear gas for a second night in Minneapolis on Wednesday, in an outpouring of rage over his death.

Television news images from a helicopter over the area showed dozens of people looting a Target store, running out with clothing and shopping trolleys full of merchandise.

Fires erupted after dark at several businesses, including an auto parts store, with eyewitnesses claiming the fires appeared to have been started deliberately.

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Target raided during George Floyd protests

Shop looted during Minneapolis protests

Police spokesman John Elder said: “Sure, we’ve had a number of fires set.

“We’ve had a good deal, a good amount of looting, or a bad amount of looting, actually, and just widespread civil disobedience.

“And it’s unfortunate. It’s sad if people are there, truly there to honour the memory of the dissident and their family, this isn’t how you do it.”

A Target store in Minneapolis is looted during protests
Image:A Target store in Minneapolis is looted during protests
Fires erupted at several businesses, including an auto parts store
Image:Fires erupted at several businesses, including an auto parts store

In a tweet, the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, urged people to leave the area.

The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.

— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 28, 2020

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The protesters walked two miles to the police department’s Third Precinct station, about half a mile from where Mr Floyd was arrested, and filled the streets surrounding it.

For two days they have been calling for Mr Chauvin and three other police officers – named by Minneapolis police as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – who were with him to be charged over Mr Floyd’s death.

The fire at AutoZone seems to have started back up; there are least five separate fires going, of varying sizes.

— Libor Jany (@StribJany) May 28, 2020

Image:Protesters in Minneapolis called for the officers involved to be charged

Another protest unfolded on the street outside Mr Chauvin’s home, with red paint spilled on his driveway and “murderer” written in chalk on his driveway.

Police told protesters Mr Chauvin was not there and nobody answered the door to reporters.

Nearly 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles, several hundred protesters – nearly all in masks due to lockdown rules – marched in anger over his death from City Hall to a downtown freeway, blocking traffic and breaking windows on two California Highway Patrol vehicles.

Image:Protests spread to Los Angeles, California
Protesters attack a California Highway patrol vehicle
Image:Protesters in LA attacked two California Highway patrol vehicles

The four police officers were fired on Tuesday but that has not stemmed the anger, with activists and celebrities joining locals in calling for criminal charges to be brought against the officers.

Donald Trump on Wednesday said the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating Mr Floyd’s death.

The president tweeted: “My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!”

Image:Hundreds of protesters in Minneapolis turned out to march for justice for George Floyd
Image:Minneapolis police fired tear gas

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey added to the calls for the police officers’ arrest on Wednesday, saying: “I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?

“I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.”

The Floyd family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer, called for peaceful protests.

“We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we must not endanger others during this pandemic,” he said.

“We will demand and ultimately force lasting change by shining a light on treatment that is horrific and unacceptable and by winning justice.”

Image:Riot police in Minneapolis fired tear gas at protesters

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo, who rose to the top job after his predecessor was forced out following the 2017 shooting of an unarmed white woman by a black officer, urged protesters to “be respectful”.

He said he was working to change the department’s culture, adding: “One incident can significantly bring people to doubt that.”

Mr Arradondo defended the use of tear gas to break up protests on Tuesday, saying officers only used it after some people broke into a secure area that gave them access to police cars and weapons.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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