Another issue for US Republican President Donald Trump few month ahead of strategic presidential elections, as clashes have broken out for a second night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over the death of George Floyd, a black man after a white officer knelt on his neck.
Protesters clashed with riot police firing tear gas for a second night yesterday in an outpouring of rage after the crime was recorded is a video, widely circulated on social media.
The video, taken by an onlooker to Monday night’s fatal encounter between police and Floyd, 46, showed him lying face down and handcuffed, gasping for air and groaning for help, repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”
According to Reuters, the second day of demonstrations, accompanied by looting, began hours after Mayor Jacob Frey urged prosecutors to file criminal charges against the white policeman shown pinning Floyd to the street.
The policeman and three fellow officers who participated in Floyd’s apprehension were dismissed from the police department on Tuesday as the FBI opened an investigation into the incident.
Floyd, allegedly tried to pass counterfeit bills at a corner eatery, was taken by ambulance from the scene of his arrest and declared dead the same night at a hospital.
Hundreds of protesters, many with faces covered, flooded streets around the Third Precinct police station late on Wednesday, about half a mile from where Floyd had been arrested, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and “I can’t breathe.”
The crowd grew to thousands as night fell and the protest turned into a standoff outside the station, where police in riot gear formed barricade lines while protesters taunted them from behind makeshift barricades of their own, Reuters reported.
Gov. Tim Walz late Wednesday called it an “extremely dangerous situation” and urged residents to leave the area.
One person was in custody in the shooting death near the site of the protests, but the motive and circumstances are unclear and being investigated, Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said at a news conference early today.
Police, some taking positions on rooftops, used tear gas, plastic bullets and concussion grenades to keep the crowds at bay, while protesters pelted police with rocks, water bottles and other projectiles. Some threw tear gas canisters back at the officers.
Television news images from a helicopter over the area showed dozens of people looting a Target store, running out with clothing and shopping carts full of merchandise.
On Twitter, President Trump said he had urged the FBI investigation “to be expedited,” adding that he appreciated “all the work done by local law enforcement.”
“My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!” he said.
The video of Monday’s deadly confrontation between police and Floyd has stirred a national outcry and led Mayor Frey to call on Wednesday for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman “to charge the arresting officer in this case.”
The city identified the four officers as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng. It did not say who had his knee against Floyd’s throat, and gave no further information.