A protester appeals to police officers to make the right decision at the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct Station on Wednesday, May 27, at 8:07PM.Hannah Lindstrom

I was on the ground during the Minneapolis protests and hit with tear gas. This is what the disturbing scene looked like.


On Monday, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer on duty, for around eight minutes. 

In Minneapolis, where the event occurred, the killing has set off a firestorm. The city, along with the rest of the country, has seen police continue to fatally interact with black individuals, despite strong resistance and calls for justice from the communities.

In the aftermath of Floyd's death, protests have made national news in their impact and scale. As a Minneapolis resident, I participated in some of these protests, and have seen firsthand how the encounters between police and citizens are unfolding and intensifying in violence and destruction.

The lived experience felt like history in the making.

On Tuesday morning, my partner called me distressed, saying that there had been a police altercation and someone died two blocks from their apartment.
Residents react after tear gas is fired by police onto their porch as they sat to watch protestors demonstrate on Hamline Avenue, Thursday, May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody Monday, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The victim was Floyd, who was stopped by police in South Minneapolis. My partner lives three miles south of me. I live in an area of Minneapolis called Uptown, which is an area that serves mainly white middle- to upper-class residents of the city. My partner went to a protest Tuesday, which was peaceful, at the site of the shooting that day and night. 

Wednesday I joined the protests.
Holiday gas station on Hennepin Friday morning.Hannah Lindstrom

My neighbor Missy* and I met on the front porch of our apartment stoop and looked at social media at what protesters needed in terms of supplies. Protests had begun at the Third Precinct Police Station of Minneapolis four miles from my home and two miles from the site of the incident. The Third Precinct is where the police officers involved worked.

We saw on Twitter that people were being tear-gassed and needed milk to soothe the burning effect.
Man getting rinsed with milk after getting pepper-sprayed in the mouth by a police officerHannah Lindstrom

I checked with an activist friend who informed me that water bottles that could be used as pressure eyewashes are more effective. We stocked up on supplies from a gas station and drove to the precinct, parking a mile away.

At the Third Precinct protest during the day, the protesters held their hands up in a submissive and peaceful way to the police officers, who were heavily armed and behind barricades.
There were police officers on the roof and on the ground heavily armed as the protesters made vulnerable and non-resisting gestures.Hannah Lindstrom

The protesters shouted in unison "Don't shoot! Don't Shoot!" and "Say his name: George Floyd!" 

Ten minutes after we showed up, the looting of Minnehaha Lake liquor store, across the street from the precinct, began.
Around three white people started the looting of Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits.Hannah Lindstrom

A few people removed the plywood barriers to the store, then people began pouring in. The alarms of the store blared, and the police did nothing, holding down their fortress and ignoring the store.

There were supply stations of water, milk, snacks, alcohol, and first aid supplies that were spontaneously organized by a few individuals acting individually and in small associations.
Free supply stations organized by citizens.Hannah Lindstrom

There were also trained medics and professionals walking around as citizens offering medical care.

Police started shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd.
Police officers shot tear gas around every twenty minutes at the crowd, which began throwing back water bottles and fireworksHannah Lindstrom

There was nothing discernibly different about how the crowd was behaving from the perspective from within the crowd, but police began firing. There were casings and objects shot or thrown. My first instinct was to pick up the objects until I realized I had no idea what would happen if they detonated.

Being there reminded of photos of the Kent State shootings. "I can't believe that the police would ever shoot at me or be my enemy," Missy told me. "I remember when I was in elementary school and learning about the Civil Rights movement in class and how they hosed people, and how that made me cry so hard my mom picked me up from school and those images made me want to be nice to all people."

The police aimed directly at people.
The scene after a man was shot in the neck with a rubber bullet.Hannah Lindstrom

One man I saw was shot in the neck with a rubber bullet and lay on the ground, his eyes wide open, and people gathered around him frantically asking if there was a nurse or doctor around. I don't know what happened to him.

People around me ran, and I kept taking pictures. Then a tear gas canister exploded near me and I smelled it, held my breath, turned around, and ran as fast as I could to fresh air.
Heavily armed police officers guarding the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct Station on May 27.Hannah Lindstrom

When I got to fresh air about 600 yards away I started to feel the burning of my face skin. I called my friend who I lost track of, screaming in pain to come find me and help me. I poured water on my face to flush the chemicals off, and it burned for maybe ten minutes after. My partner's friend had inhaled it and had needed Throat Coat tea because of the irritation, and Missy's partner also has symptoms of respiratory irritation.

Some individual protesters threw fireworks back at the police, and after I was tear-gassed I left.
The last photo I took of the crowd that dispersed due to the tear gas around 9:00PM, after I got home the area fires were set and looting intensified.Hannah Lindstrom

After I got home, I heard that the AutoZone near the precinct was set on fire. More reports of looting in that precinct area and fires were passed by word of mouth through the night amongst my friends and neighbors. 

Thursday morning, Missy and I met again on the stoop. We drove through Uptown to assess any damage or proximal danger and the threat level for the night ahead.
Calhoun Square commercial center on West Lake Street boarded up.Hannah Lindstrom

Calhoun Square, one of the city's well know malls, and many shops were being boarded up. Other than that, everyone was driving around as if everything was normal. Rumors of looting in Midway circulated. The chaos versus normality in different geographic regions was disconcerting.

Popular destinations like the Apple store were being boarded up.
Apple store on Hennepin Avenue across from Calhoun Square getting boarded up Thursday around 5:00PM.Hannah Lindstrom

On Thursday evening, protests escalated and the Third precinct was set on fire, with demonstrators calling for the arrest of the officer who knelt on Floyd.
Protestors demonstrate outside of a burning Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct on Thursday, May 28, 2020.John Minchillo/AP

On Friday, the extend of damage done to businesses revealed itself.
Looking through the window at the looted Walgreens on Hennepin Avenue on May 29.Hannah Lindstrom

Many corporate businesses frequented by white middle-class clientele were looted, for example: Urban Outfitters and the Apple store.

The Walgreens down the block from me was looted.
Interior of the Walgreens on Hennepin Avenue at 7:45AM on May 29.Hannah Lindstrom

The Walgreens' floor was flooded from the fire system, and the alarm was blaring. I had to cover my nose and mouth due to the stench of chemicals, like hair dyes scattered across the floor. A person was trying to see if anything was left in a broken open ATM.

The Urban Outfitters across the street from Calhoun Square was looted.
Debris and a remaining social distancing sign at the Urban Outfitters on Hennepin Avenue on May 29 at 7:58AM.Hannah Lindstrom

Debris and broken glass were all over the floor.
Remains of the displays in the Urban Outfitters on Hennepin Avenue on May 29.Hannah Lindstrom

A few stores down the Apple store was looted as well.
The Apple store on Hennepin Avenue was boarded up the day before, but broken into Thursday night. Store shown Friday, May 29 at 8:04AM.Molly Brandt

More protests are being planned for Friday night.
A protester’s sign at the Third Precinct protest that began peacefully before police began tear gassing at 8:36PM on May 27.Hannah Lindstrom