Death Of George Floyd Sparks Protests Across U.S.
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Our nation weep for George Floyd.
It saddens me to see any one of my compatriots being treated so inhumanely. Many of my compatriots, of all racial groups, expressed their sense of empathy and indignation toward the injustice and tried to stand up for some one who is no longer able to speak, George Floyd. Despite this COVID-19 pandemic period, many protesters from different parts of the USA have demonstrated against police violence and for justice for George Floyd. The reason there had been such an outcry for George Floyd and national protests was due to the delayed justice. Initially, the officer(s) responsible for the death of George Floyd was/were only fired from his/their job(s). It was not until after many videos were uploaded onto Facebook and various social media platforms by bystanders and multiple protests broke out from different parts of the country, that the perpetrator was then arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter.
According to CNN reports, protesters have now taken over some of the streets and freeway of Minneapolis, despite curfew, and there is no presence of the police or National Guard.
The lesson to learn from this, for those in the leadership positions: Justice needs to be swift and just.
Reminder for people every where: Do not generalize and remember that there are many decent police officers who are simply trying to make a living and to maintain peace. Your peaceful protests will win much more sympathy and empathy. Please refrain from looting or violence. Let us all reach across racial lines and share the burden and pain of one another. Then and only then, we will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Minneapolis officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck has now been arrested, which Floyd’s family calls a “welcome but overdue step on the road to justice”, in the video “A Nation At A Breaking Point, As Minneapolis Reels From The Death of George Floyd, Deadline, MSNBC“, below:
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter against now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd. Freeman said the investigation continues and there could be further charges. Watch remarks, in the video “Prosecutors announce charges against police officer in George Floyd’s death“, below:
NBC News’ Glenn Kirschner breaks down the 3rd degree murder and manslaughter charges against Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was recorded on video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck before his death, in the video “Examining The Murder & Manslaughter Charges Against Floyd’s Arresting Officer Chauvin, NBC News NOW“, below:
There are calls for peace and justice in Minneapolis after two nights of protests and rioting following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, in the video “George Floyd’s death sparks days of protests, rioting“, below:
George Floyd’s death sparks outrage across country, in the video “George Floyd’s death sparks outrage across country“, below:
CNN’s Sara Sidner and Josh Campbell report on the scene as protests erupt in Minneapolis over George Floyd’s death while in police custody. The Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel,” according to a statement from John Elder, Director of the department’s Office of Public Information. “Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.” in the video “CNN reporter says ‘zero’ police presence as Minneapolis precinct burns“, below:
Ali Velshi reports live from Minneapolis where a police station has caught fire during a protest against the fatal arrest of George Floyd, in the video “Minneapolis Police Station ON Fire Amid Protest Of George Floyd’s Killing, The 11th Hour, MSNBC“, below:
CNN’s Omar Jimenez was taken into police custody during a live broadcast at the site of the protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying himself to officers. Jimenez’s crew were also placed in handcuffs, in the video “Police arrest CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and crew on live television“, below:
No explanation was given as to why the CNN reporter, producer, and camera crew were arrested and handcuffed.
CNN’s Omar Jimenez is released from police custody after being arrested while covering protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Minnesota State Patrol arrested the team live on CNN air, in the video “CNN reporter Omar Jimenez released from police custody“, below:
The FBI is investigating the death of George Floyd, black man who was pinned on the neck by a police officer and later died in custody. Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison joins The Beat with Ari Melber’s breaking coverage on the latest from the FBI and the protests. While the officers involved have yet to be charged, Ellison argues a “quick arrest” might “make people feel better about justice” it is “important” for investigators to “take the time to make sure that these charges, if they are brought forward, stick.” in the video “‘Haunted’: Minnesota Attorney General Responds To Death And Investigation Of George Floyd, MSNBC“, below:
After a third night of violent and chaotic demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Reverend Al Sharpton and CEO of Robin Hood Wes Moore join Stephanie Ruhle to discuss the incident, its aftermath, and what will happen next, in the video “Al Sharpton: ‘If Your Obligation As An Officer Doesn’t Kick In, Do You’ve Any Humanitarian In You?“, below:
MSNBC’s Joy Reid says protesters in Minneapolis are risking the coronavirus to send a message to the country: ‘Just stop killing us; this isn’t a huge demand.’ in the video “Joy Reid: Just Stop Killing Us; This Isn’t A Huge Demand, Morning Joe, MSNBC“, below:
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks as the outrage over the death of George Floyd’s grows and protests and investigations continue, in the video “‘None Of Us Can Be Silent’: Biden Responds To Outrage Over George Floyd’s Death, MSNBC“, below:
In the video “LIVE: Protesters march in Houston for George Floyd“, below:
In the video “George Floyd death: Protests erupt in cities across the U.S., LIVE (Atlanta, GA)“, below:
The second day of protests comes less than 24 hours after protests in downtown Denver erupted, with videos showing shattered windows, blocked highways and more, in the video “Protesters march to protest death of George Floyd for the second day“, below:
NBC News’ Ron Allen captures the unrest in the streets of New York as protests breakout across the country after George Floyd’s death, in the video “Protests Break Out In New York City After George Floyd’s Death, NBC News NOW“, below:
The charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin are 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter, Esme Murphy reports (2:36). WCCO 4 News At 6 – May 29, 2020, in the video “An Overview Of The Charges Against Derek Chauvin“, below:
The protests, riots, and burning of parts of Minneapolis resulted from the death of George Floyd, details from wikipedia in italics, below:
George Floyd was an African-American man who died on May 25, 2020, after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes while he was handcuffed and lying face down on the road. After five minutes, Floyd appeared to stop moving. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng also helped restrain Floyd, while officer Tou Thao stood nearby to obscure the view of onlookers and cameras. The incident occurred during an arrest of Floyd in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was recorded on cell phone video by several bystanders. The video recordings, showing Floyd repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe,” were widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by the media. The four officers involved were fired the next day.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is conducting a federal civil rights investigation into the incident, at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department, while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating whether there were possible violations of Minnesota statutes.
Demonstrations and protests that began after the death of Floyd were initially peaceful, but quickly became violent as windows were smashed at a police precinct, two stores were set on fire, and other stores were looted and damaged in the surrounding areas. Law enforcement responded by shooting tear gas and firing rubber bullets into the crowds. Floyd’s death has been compared to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who repeated “I can’t breathe” eleven times after being placed in a choke hold by a police officer during an arrest.
George Floyd was a 46-year-old African-American man. A native of Houston, Texas, he attended Yates High School as a multi-sport athlete and graduated in 1993. He was a rapper associated with the Houston-based hip hop group Screwed Up Click and freestyled under the alias “Big Floyd” on mixtapes released by DJ Screw. Floyd moved to Minnesota around 2014. He lived in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and had worked in nearby Minneapolis as a restaurant security guard for five years. He had recently lost his job at the time of his death due to Minnesota’s stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic. Floyd was the father of two daughters, ages 6 and 22, that remained in Houston.
Derek Chauvin, age 44, was identified as the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck. He had been an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department since around 2001. Chauvin had 18 complaints on his official record, two of which ended in discipline from the department including official letters of reprimand. He had been involved in three police shootings, one of which was fatal.[25 According to former club owner Maya Santamaria, Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security guards and had overlapping shifts at the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo. She said Chauvin had worked there for 17 years and Floyd had worked at about a dozen events. She said it was not clear if they knew each other but that she did not believe so.
Officer Tou Thao went through the police academy in 2009 and was hired to a full-time position in 2012. In 2017, Thao was a defendant in an excessive use of force lawsuit that was settled out of court for $25,000.
All four officers were fired after the incident.
Initial statements from the police and paramedics
Shortly after 8:00 p.m. on May 25, Memorial Day, Minneapolis Police Department officers responded to a “forgery in progress” on Chicago Avenue South in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. According to WCCO, the implication was that Floyd “tried to use forged documents at a nearby deli”. According to a co-owner of Cup Foods, Floyd attempted to use a $20 bill that a staff member identified as counterfeit. According to police, Floyd was in a nearby car and “appeared to be under the influence”. A spokesman for the police department said the officers ordered him to exit the vehicle, at which point he “physically resisted”. This claim is contradicted by all video evidence thus far released of the encounter.
According to the Minneapolis police, officers “were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress”, and called for an ambulance. No weapons were used in the arrest, according to a statement from the Minneapolis police.
According to the Minneapolis Fire Department, paramedics moved Floyd from the location and were doing chest compressions and other lifesaving measures on an “unresponsive, pulseless male”. Floyd was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Video of the arrest filmed by bystander
When the video starts, Floyd is already pinned chest down to the ground, and Officer Chauvin is kneeling on his neck. Floyd repeatedly tells Chauvin “Please” and “I can’t breathe”, while also moaning, groaning, and sobbing. A bystander tells police, “You got him down. Let him breathe.”
Another bystander says, “One of my homies died the same way”, and after Floyd responds “I’m about to die the same”, Chauvin tells Floyd to relax. The police ask Floyd, “What do you want?” Floyd answers, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd states: “Please, the knee in my neck, I can’t breathe.” Someone tells Floyd to “get up and get in the car” (which Agence France Presse, CBS News and WVLT-TV identify as one of the officers, while Buzzfeed News says it is “unclear” whether it was an officer speaking), to which Floyd replies, “I will … I can’t move.” Floyd cries out, “Mama!” Floyd says, “My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts”, and requests water. The police do not audibly respond to Floyd. Floyd begs, “Don’t kill me.”
One bystander points out that Floyd is bleeding from the nose. Another tells the police that Floyd is “not even resisting arrest right now”. The police tell the bystanders that Floyd was “talking, he’s fine”; a bystander replies that Floyd “ain’t fine”. The bystander protests that the police were preventing Floyd from breathing, urging them, “Get him off the ground … You could have put him in the car by now. He’s not resisting arrest or nothing. You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language.”
Floyd goes silent and motionless, but Chauvin does not lift his knee from Floyd’s neck. The bystanders protest that Floyd is “not responsive”, and repeatedly ask the police to check Floyd’s pulse. A bystander questions, “Did they fucking kill him?”
An ambulance eventually arrives, and Chauvin does not move his knee until emergency medical services put Floyd’s unresponsive body on a stretcher. Floyd was initially found pulseless by HCMC paramedics, but CPR was not initiated by the paramedic crew. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance and taken away to 36th Street and Park Avenue, according to an incident report by the Minneapolis Fire Department. A male bystander says that the police “just really killed” Floyd. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes, including around four minutes after Floyd stopped moving.
Medics in the ambulance checked Floyd’s pulse several times, but found none. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A second bystander video, taken from inside a vehicle, shows Floyd being removed from his vehicle. Vice describes that Floyd “doesn’t appear to be resisting – just standing next to his car”. The Independent wrote, “The video shows two policemen pulling Mr. Floyd from his car without any apparent resistance.”
A six-minute video from a security camera of a nearby restaurant was provided to the news media. It shows two officers removing a man from a vehicle. The man is handcuffed and brought to a sidewalk, where he sits down. A third officer arrives. Later, an officer helps the man stand up again, and two officers bring the man to a police vehicle, where the man falls onto the ground. While police initially claimed that Floyd had resisted arrest, this surveillance video “shows officers calmly detaining him”, according to CBS News. The surveillance video “does not support police claims that George Floyd resisted arrest”, wrote CNN.
A video of the incident from a different angle showed “three officers have Floyd pinned on the ground, while another stands over him”, reported CBS Evening News. The Wall Street Journal described it as “three officers are seen sitting on” Floyd.
Minneapolis Park Police (MPP) – a different agency than the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) – had one officer at the location of Floyd’s detainment. The MPP released the officer’s body-cam footage on May 28. The footage showed the MPP officer reassuring two passengers from Floyd’s car that an ambulance would arrive at the scene, and telling them to “stay put”. CNN noted the officer was “not facing the direction of the incident when it happened”.
That day, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it was reviewing the incident. Footage from the officers’ body cameras was turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is representing Floyd’s family.
On May 27, misinformation targeting Chauvin began to circulate on social media. Particularly prominent were claims that Chauvin was the subject of a photo wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” hat and that Chauvin was onstage with President Donald Trump at a political rally; both claims were later shown to be false.
On May 28, the United States Department of Justice released a joint statement with the FBI saying they had made the investigation into Floyd’s death “a top priority”. They said they had assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter, and outlined the investigation’s next steps: A “comprehensive investigation will compile all available information and thoroughly evaluate evidence and information obtained from witnesses … If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought.” The Wall Street Journal said it was a notably strong statement from the Justice Department, “which often takes a more muted tone in describing continuing investigations”.
Chauvin was arrested on May 29, and Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman charged him with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He said he anticipated charges for the three other officers.
Memorials, protests, and riots
The protest attracted hundreds and began peacefully, but gradually culminated in the precinct being vandalized by spray paint and rocks thrown through the windows of police vehicles by protesters. Following the march from Chicago Avenue South to the 3rd Precinct, a small group of protesters broke off from the initial crowd and vandalized the 3rd Precinct building and squad cars, believing the officers worked there. Around 8:00 pm, in what appeared to be a standoff, police in riot gear fired beanbag rounds and chemical agents at protesters who threw water bottles at them.
The protests continued on May 27, including at Chicago Avenue South. Demonstrators also protested outside the precinct vandalized the evening prior. Starting at about 6 pm, police began deploying chemical irritants and shot at numerous protesters with rubber bullets at the precinct. Numerous videos on social media showed some number of protesters breaking the precinct’s windows and throwing objects at police. By later in the evening, the AutoZone on East Lake Street had been set ablaze, and videos began to circulate on social media of extensive looting taking place at a nearby Target. Other fires were set in the streets and to a housing complex construction site, the latter of which was completely destroyed.
Over 30 businesses in Midtown, Minneapolis were damaged by Thursday morning. The owner of a pawnshop fatally shot a man he believed was burglarizing his business. Looting also occurred at a Target store in nearby Saint Paul on May 28. A Wendy’s was set on fire, and other stores were looted and damaged in the surrounding areas, including a Target and Dollar Tree. Looting took place in Midway, Saint Paul at a CVS Pharmacy, Discount Tire outlet and a Walgreens store.
As night fell in Minneapolis on May 28, fires were lit in buildings surrounding the 3rd Precinct on two sides, and fire alarms were going off inside the building. Police used tear gas against protesters as the temporary fence surrounding the building was torn down. The Third Precinct building was later overrun by protestors while police evacuated. The protesters then set the building on fire. Since May 27, over 100 Minneapolis businesses and over 30 St. Paul businesses have been damaged or destroyed.
Shortly after 5:00 am. CT, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and three crew members were arrested by police while conducting a live television report covering the protests. Police reportedly told the crew that they were being detained because they were not following instructions to move; however, live television coverage proved otherwise. CNN released a statement saying the crew were doing their jobs correctly and therefore the arrests were a clear violation of First Amendment rights.
On May 29, Trump posted on Twitter that he would send the military to Minneapolis in order to bring the riots under control if the Governor was unable to; this came after the Governor Walz signed an executive order to send the Minnesota National Guard to Minneapolis, officially to protect property and to allow the local firefighters do their job. This move follows Trump’s tweet earlier that day, in which he criticized Minneapolis’ “very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey,” and his lack of control of the riots.
National protests and riots
Protests also took place in Los Angeles on May 27, where about 500 to 1,000 protesters held hands to block both directions of US-101 near downtown around 4 p.m. with similar signs and slogans to those from Minnesota before marching towards downtown. The protesters briefly delayed a California Highway Patrol vehicle as well before dispersing around 6:30 pm. Smaller protests continued on May 28 outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown LA. In a May 28 public service announcement, the Los Angeles Chief of Police said, “Protests are and should be occurring across this country, and in this city, to bring voices to the injustices. It is part of the very democracy that makes this nation great… Peaceful demonstrations are a cornerstone of our freedom and a bedrock of the constitution officers in this department are sworn to uphold and defend.”
Protests took place on May 28 and into the morning of the 29th in Columbus, Ohio by Capitol Square. Over 300 people were involved, and although protests were initially peaceful, violence and damage caused tear gas from police. Later, the protests turned increasingly violent, with businesses, bus stops, and Ohio Statehouse windows damaged. Police arrested several protesters, and used pepper spray and flash grenades to further disperse them. At around 7:00 pm., protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 25 near 15th Street. At around 9:00, protesters began throwing bottles, leading police to disperse pepper spray into the crowd. Some protesters threw the pepper spray back at police officers. Protesters then began throwing eggs, fireworks, smoke bombs, jugs of water, and shoes. Police were able to get the protesters back to N. High St. and State St. There, some protesters broke the windows of businesses and bus stops. They also smashed the front doors and windows of the Ohio Statehouse, with some obtaining entrance to the Statehouse. At N. High St. and Town St. some protesters began breaking into businesses and looting from a local convenience store. Additionally, protesters tore trash cans and mailboxes from their mounts. The Ohio Theater was also damaged. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts estimated the damage at $15,000.
Also on May 28, demonstrators in Denver, Colorado blocked highways while protesting the death of George Floyd. Police fired rubber bullets and shot gas canisters at the crowd. In the downtown area, a video was taken that appears to show a vehicle intentionally hitting a protester. The protester had gotten onto the hood of the car. According to the woman who filmed the incident, the man jumped on top of the vehicle before she began filming.
In New York City on May 28, nearly 100 protesters assembled in Union Square. At least 70 were arrested following altercations with police keeping the streets clear for traffic. In Manhattan, one protester punched an officer in the face according to authorities, while another allegedly threw a garbage can at an officer, striking him the head. Protesters also threw bottles at police officers.
Silent demonstrations of around 40 people in Memphis, Tennessee protesting the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery led to “verbal confrontations” with Memphis police and two counter-protesters from the Facebook group “Confederate 901”. On May 27, protesters shut down Union Avenue near McLean Boulevard. In Louisville, Kentucky, on May 28, protesters demanded justice for the death of Breonna Taylor. Some 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the city that evening. Later during the protest, seven people were shot by an unknown shooter or shooters, with one victim critically injured. In Chicago, Illinois, protesters blocked traffic at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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