Fighting racial injustice with arson? Protesters set Minneapolis police precinct on fire where George Floyd diedby FPJ Web Desk
Large-scale protests turned violent in Minneapolis, as protestors breached police department’s 3rd Precinct building and set it ablaze on Thursday night.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to restore order.
Walz's order came after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's called for assistance after widespread damage and looting took place amid the protests on Wednesday night.
"George Floyd's death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction," Walz said in a statement.
"It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they're charged to protect."
The National Guard Adjutant General will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to respond to and recover from this emergency, according to a report from local newspaper Star Tribune.
In addition, the Minnesota State Patrol will supply 200 troopers. State Patrol helicopters and other aircraft will also be available to assist law enforcement officers on the ground, said the report.
Wednesday night's protests began peacefully and escalated into gunfire and arson, with about 30 buildings reported ablaze, and countless others damaged, said the report.
US president Donald Trump reacting to the incident tweeted, "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."
"These THUGS are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts," he added.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man died on Monday after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to the back of his neck while he was handcuffed and other officers stood by.
While being pinned down, Floyd repeatedly pleaded, "please, I can't breathe" and "don't kill me".
The four officers involved in the case were fired shortly after a video showing Floyd's death went viral on social media on Tuesday, sparking a national outcry for justice.
It has drawn comparisons to the 2014 death of New York African-American Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold by police, despite his cries of "I can't breathe". His death galvanized the nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement.
The incident concerning Floyd occurred on Monday night when after receiving a complaint, reportedly that a man might be trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store, police officers arrived on the scene and found Floyd sitting in his vehicle, Efe news reported.
When they ordered him to get out, they said he resisted arrest, adding in their official report filed after the incident that after they had handcuffed him and made him lie facedown on the pavement they noticed that he was in "medical distress".
In the video taken by a passerby of Floyd's arrest and the events leading to his death, the man is seen lying facedown on the pavement beside a patrol car with one of the officers kneeling on the back of his neck for more than five minutes without changing position, despite the fact that Floyd can be heard saying that he cannot breathe and begging for the officers not to hurt him, until he ultimately loses consciousness.
"Please, please, please I can't breathe," and "My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can't breathe," Floyd is heard saying. But the officer never reduced the pressure of his knee and body weight on the man's neck until an ambulance arrived minutes later and Floyd was loaded onto a stretcher showing no signs of life.
He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into the case, which has sparked strong reaction across the country.