George Floyd protesters breach Minneapolis police precinct, set it on fire


Chaos and mayhem took over the streets of Minneapolis on Thursday night as protesters stormed a police precinct and set it ablaze in an explosion of anger over the death of George Floyd.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct was engulfed in flames around 10 p.m. local time as protesters took over the building, climbed onto its roof, and celebrated amid the flaming ruins.

Raising their fists in the air, the crowds chanted, “What’s his name? George Floyd!” as fire alarms sounded in the background and fireworks were shot into the air.

A photo from the scene also showed rioters entering the precinct through an open door. Officers and other workers inside the precinct evacuated just after 10 p.m., the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement.

“Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires,” the department said.

The city Thursday night warned people to stay away from the precinct in case the building exploded.

“We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted.

“If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”

As the precinct went up in flames, another fire roared across the street at a wine and liquor store near the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street.

The precinct over the past three nights has been a primary target of unruly protesters since it’s believed that the four since-fired officers involved in Floyd’s Monday arrest worked there.

Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called in the National Guard to try to stem the violence as the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, also pleaded for calm.

It’s unclear if the state’s National Guard would be dispatched to the precinct.

But shortly after midnight local time, they tweeted they were “ready” to assist so the fire department could “safely do their mission.”

Protests in the city over Floyd, who died Monday shortly after a white cop kneeled on his neck, have grown increasingly violent since Tuesday night.
Flames rise from a liquor store and shops near the 3rd Police Precinct.
AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday night, protesters looted a Target, set fire to several buildings and businesses, including an AutoZone, and vandalized the 3rd Precinct.

Also Wednesday night, a man was fatally shot outside a pawn shop and other people were beaten.

Police in the city have so far refrained from making widespread arrests, but they have used tear gas and flash bang grenades to try to curb the chaos.