Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated the state National Guard to help restore order in Minneapolis, where protesters have taken over the streets to vent their anger over the death of George Floyd.
Prosecutors have not yet said whether the four police officers involved in the incident that resulted in Floyd’s death would face criminal charges. State and federal prosecutors are investigating the confrontation that ended with African American man Floyd begging white police officer Derek Chauvin to stop kneeling on his neck, saying, “I can’t breathe.”
Video from the incident was captured by bystanders, resulting in international outrage and the immediate firing of the four policemen involved at the scene.
“We’re going to investigate it as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands,” said Mike Freeman, the district attorney in Hennepin County, speaking at a news conference. “Sometimes that takes a little time, and we ask people to be patient.”
Protesters weren’t waiting for approval. They took to the streets in Minneapolis starting on Tuesday night, and Los Angeles saw the 101 Freeway blocked on Wednesday night by a march organized by Black Lives Matter. More than a dozen people were arrested in New York City on Thursday night at a Union Square protest, while San Francisco and Memphis were among other cities where angry citizens took to the streets.
Most major news networks were broadcasting news from the scene, with some going live from Minneapolis and elsewhere.
In Minneapolis, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up Wednesday night violence. One man was killed, but it was unclear how he died. Widespread looting erupted, with a Target store on Lake Street in the city particularly victimized, and an AutoZone was set on fire.
“Unfortunately, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and damaging public and private property,”Gov. Walz said in his request for the National Guard. “These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators and other Minnesotans, and both first responders and demonstrators have already been injured.”
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