Stabbings, stun guns and tear gas: The escalating violence on the streets of Minneapolis.by Chelsea McLaughlin
Protests across the city of Minneapolis have escalated into violence and mayhem, following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, who died after pleading that he couldn’t breathe, while a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck.
On Friday morning Australian time, Today show cameras and reporter Tim Arvier captured live what happened in the aftermath of a stabbing, involving a white man allegedly stabbing a black man among the chaos.
For 20 minutes, a crowd gathered around the stabbed man, trying to save his life while another group held the alleged offender nearby.
For 20 minutes, no medical attention was available.
For 20 minutes, police – located just 100 metres away at the nearby precinct, which had been barricaded up following rioting overnight – stayed away.
When they finally did arrive, they were met with hostility.
After they arrested the alleged offender – who sat shirtless on the ground and offered no resistance – and loaded the stabbing victim into the back of a police vehicle for medical attention, the crowd threw rocks and bricks.
Police responded with tear gas, stun guns and rubber bullets, before again retreating.
“It’s like a modern day war zone,” Today co-host Karl Stefanovic said.
Meanwhile, looting of nearby businesses, which began overnight, continued.
As the violence erupted, in the background of the Today footage, people walked away with trolleys and shelving full of food and other supplies taken from stores like Target and supermarkets.
“Does not support a criminal charge.”
Around the same time of the above incidents, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest may not face criminal charges.
They were fired earlier this week.
Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said at a press conference, the video of Floyd’s final moments was “graphic, horrible and terrible” but he also said criminal charges against the police officers, including Derek Chauvin, the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck, may not be filed.
He said he and other law enforcement agencies were working hard to establish the facts of the case.
“But there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge,” he said, refusing to disclose information about this evidence when prompted by reporters.
Following the conference, the prosecutor’s office issued a press release to ‘clarify’ what he meant.
“To clarify, County Attorney Freeman was saying that it is critical to review all the evidence between at the time of trial, invariably, all that information will be used.”
The video, which went viral after Floyd died on Monday, shows the officer, identified as Chauvin, hold Floyd down as he moans, calls for his mother and yells that he can’t breathe.
“My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts… I can’t breathe,” he said.
As bystanders shouted their concern, an officer responded: “He’s talking, so he’s breathing”.
About four minutes into the video, Floyd stops talking and is unresponsive as bystanders become increasingly agitated.
The officers ignore the bystanders' repeated requests to check Floyd's pulse, and Chauvin does not remove his knee from his neck until paramedics put the unresponsive man onto a stretcher - about four minutes after he stopped responding.
On Thursday, another video emerged showing that Floyd did not resist arrest.
Also on Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called on Freeman to press charges against the arresting officer.
But Freeman's latest statement shows this may not happen.
The long list of complaints against Derek Chauvin.
Derek Chauvin was a 19-year police veteran, who has been the subject of at least a dozen police conduct complaints.
None resulted in disciplinary action, and one led to a "letter of reprimand", NBC News reported.
Following Floyd's death, Chauvin was revealed as one of six officers who fired their weapons in the 2006 death of Wayne Reyes, whom police said pointed a sawed-off shotgun at officers after stabbing two people.
Chauvin also shot and wounded a man in 2008 in a struggle, after Chauvin and his partner responded to a reported domestic assault.
Riots and looting.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called in the National Guard on Thursday as violence continued across Minnesota's twin cities region of Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
Images from overnight show Wednesday night's protests were more heightened than Tuesday's, which were more peaceful.
Fire crews responded to about 30 intentionally set blazes, and there were no sign of police at a destroyed shopping centre.
Across from the nearby police precinct, someone had spray-painted in red: "Where's humanity?"
Early on Friday morning AEST, Today reporter Tim Arvier stood outside Minneapolis stores as citizens came and looted the contents.
Americans have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 40 million filing for unemployment in the past 10 weeks, and Arvier pointed out many of these looters were not involved in the protests but were instead opportunistic.
Images showed looters leaving stores with trolleys full of food, appliances and electronics.
As Arvier reported, the news of Attorney Freeman's statement that charges may not be laid broke, but it did not appear the crowd had yet learned of the update.
Throughout his reporting, members of the public warned him things would again escalate after dark.
A Change.org petition demanding charges be filed against the police officers involved has reached three million signatures, and a GoFundMe for Floyd's family has raised US$1,300,000 dollars.
You can donate to the Black Lives Matter campaign here.
- His name was George Floyd: Why you're seeing this man's face all over your social media feeds.
- "I'm going to call the cops." Why you're seeing Amy Cooper's name everywhere right now.
Feature image: Getty.