Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Saturday he has authorized “full mobilization” of the state’s National Guard – something that has never been done in the 164-year history of the Minnesota National Guard.
Walz, who has been hammered by residents, critics and the press for his response to the crisis in his state, pushed back on the idea that the protests, which have turned increasingly violent, now have anything to do with George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis killed while in police custody.
“The tactics and the approach that we have taken have evolved and need to evolve the same way, with a sensitivity to the legitimate rage and anger that came after what the world witnessed in the murder of George Floyd and was manifested in a very healthy gathering of community to memorialize that Tuesday night, which was still present to a certain degree on Wednesday,” he said, adding, “By Thursday it was nearly gone and last night is a mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd’s death or inequities or historical traumas to our communities of color.”
During his Saturday morning press conference, Walz also thanked first responders “who are out there protecting our cities.”
“As they were taking incoming fire, improvised explosive devices and a highly evolved and tightly-controlled group of folks bent on adapting their tactics to make it as difficult as possible to maintain that order,” he said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey added that most of the violent protesters aren’t residents of the city but instead people taking advantage of a situation and hellbent on fanning the flames of hate.
“This is no longer about protesting,” Frey said. “This is about violence and we need to make sure that it stops.”
Both leaders have implied that organized outsiders, including but not limited to anarchists, white supremacists and gangs from other states, were behind the destruction and chaos in Minneapolis.
“The sheer number of rioters has made it impossible to make coherent arrests… The capacity to be able to do offensive action was greatly diminished” by the sheer scope and seemingly organized nature of the assaults,” Walz said.
“The terrifying thing is that this resembles more a military operation now as you observe ringleaders moving from place to place,” he added.
Fed up residents and local businesses that have been looted and set on fire hope the city will see some calm with the arrival of the National Guard.
Minnesota’s National Guard is comprised of more than 13,000 soldiers, according to the Guard’s 2019 annual report.
TWIN CITIES RIOTING CONTINUES AS MINNESOTA GOVERNOR CLAIMS GUARD, POLICE RESPONDING
Reinforcements from the active-duty forces could also be on the way soon. Military police units have been put on alert. Fox News can confirm at least one unit out of Fort Drum, New York home to the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division has been told to be ready to deploy in 4-hours if needed.
Military Police units could be used to back up law enforcement in Minnesota, but no orders have been given to deploy, officials tell Fox News.
Deploying active-duty forces is not without precedent inside the United States. In 1992, thousands of active-duty forces were dispatched to Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots under the Insurrection Act of 1807.
AT TRUMP REQUEST, PENTAGON PUTS MILITARY POLICE ON ALERT TO GO TO MINNEAPOLIS
Floyd’s death Monday has sparked protests and rioting across the U.S., from New York City and Washington, D.C., to Chicago; Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Dallas, to San Jose, Calif.; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Monday, while one of them, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“The arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the brutal killing of George Floyd is a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said Friday, according to FOX 9. “We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested.”
Meantime, all across the nation came reports of arson fires, looting and smashed windows and vehicles. From some cities came reports of gunfire against police officers.
And all of it happened as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans.
Derek Chauvin charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
- Protests erupt in cities across the United States over the deadly arrest of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, who was pinned to the ground by the knee of a white officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- The fired officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, as Floyd pleaded “I can’t breathe”, has been charged with murder and manslaughter.
- The Minnesota National Guard has arrived in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and surrounding areas.
- Minneapolis has imposed a weekend curfew.
- Community leaders and residents demand the arrest of the three other officers involved.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, May 30
9:14 GMT – Firefighters report 30 fires in Minneapolis
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told citizens there was “no honour in burning down your city” as firefighters tackled multiple blazes into Saturday morning.
The Minneapolis Fire Department said it was responding to 30 fires across the city. That included blazes at a Japanese restaurant, a Wells Fargo bank and an Office Depot. Many burned for hours, with firefighters again delayed in reaching them because areas were not secure.
In a statement Frey said, “We as a city are so much more than this. We as a city can be so much better than this.”
07:55 GMT – Louisville police apologise for targeting news crew at protest
The Louisville Metro Police Department apologised after a police officer was seen on camera firing what appeared to be pepper balls at a news crew during a live television broadcast.
A crew from WAVE-TV was downtown in the Kentucky city on Friday night, covering demonstrations over the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed by police in her own home in March.
As WAVE-TV was on air, reporter Kaitlin Rust is heard yelling off-camera: “I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!” The video shows a police officer aiming directly at the camera crew, as Rust describes the projectiles as “pepper bullets”.
“I want to apologise,” Louisville police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay told the Courier Journal. “It’s not something that should have occurred if she was singled out as a reporter.”
Halladay said she could not tell who the officer was at this time, but that police would review the video again and “if we need to do any investigation for discipline, we will do that”.
07:00 GMT – One dead after shots fired at protesters in Detroit
A 19-year-old man was killed in Detroit, Michigan, after someone in an SUV fired shots into a crowd of people protesting against Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, police said.
Sergeant Nicole Kirkwood said the shooting occurred around 11:30pm local time on Friday near Detroit’s Greektown entertainment district as officers were confronted with dozens of protesters.
An officer was not involved in the shooting, she said, adding that the suspect pulled up in a Dodge Durango and fired shots into the crowd.
06:50 GMT – Scuffles reported in front of the White House
US media reported scuffles between Secret Service officers and protesters in front of the White House as demonstrators returned to the area.
Some violence here. Police just did a small charge after protesters got one of their shields and brandished as a trophy. Clashes as the line broke. White House viewable behind. 2.10am-ish. #GeorgeFloydProtets
“Some violence here,” said Ben Riley Smith, US editor at The Daily Telegraph. “Police just did a small charge after protesters got one of their shields and brandished as a trophy.”
Fin Gomez, CBS News’s White House correspondent, said Secret Service officers were pushing back the crowds as some protesters tried to breach barricades in the area.
06:24 GMT – Military police put on alert to go to Minneapolis, says AP
The Associated Press news agency said the Pentagon has ordered the army to put several active-duty US military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis.
Citing three people with direct knowledge of the orders, the AP news agency said soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called.
Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours.
05:27 GMT – National Guard deploys to enforce Minneapolis curfew
Some 350 officers of the Minnesota National Guard and local police have deployed to enforce a curfew in Minneapolis, warning protesters they will be arrested if they refused to leave the city’s Fifth Precint area.
The warning came as KARE 11, a local TV channel, reported protesters had lit fires at a petrol station, a bank and a US post office building.
“I urge residents to comply with 8pm curfew and go home immediately,” said Tim Walz, governor of Minnesota.
04:57 GMT – Georgia declares state of emergency
Brian P Kemp, the governor of the state of Georgia, has declared a state of emergency in Fulton county and ordered the deployment of 500 National Guard troops as protests turned violent in Atlanta.
Police in Atlanta said protesters lit fires and looted businesses in downtown Atlanta.
04:32 GMT – Protesters set fire to court building in Louisville
Hundreds of people have protested for a second day in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, with some demonstrators breaking into the city’s Hall of Justice and starting a fire inside.
WHAS11 TV said protesters broke into the court building through a basement window and lit a fire there. Police told the TV station “things are escalating, not de-escalating”.
Crowds rallied in different parts of the city, with some chanting “Prosecute the police” and “I can’t breathe”.
03:46 GMT – Houston mayor calls for peaceful protests
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has urged protesters to remain peaceful after a group of people demonstrating against Floyd’s death blocked highway entrances and threw objects at police officers.
Some protesters clashed with police in downtown Houston, Texas, with officers deploying tear gas or pepper spray to disperse crowds.
Organisers believe more than 3,000 people gathered with Black Lives Matter Houston to protest Floyd’s death with chants of “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace”.
Turner said some were arrested for attempting to block roads, but no injuries were reported. He added that some police vehicles were damaged.
02:50 GMT – Protesters defy Minneapolis curfew
Hundreds of people defied a curfew in Minneapolis by rallying in the city’s downtown for a fourth day over Floyd’s custodial death.
“It’s an eerie scene right now,” Allison Herrera, a Minneapolis resident, told Al Jazeera. “The curfew went into effect a little over an hour ago. And people are still out on the streets.”
Earlier in the day, CBSN Minnesota reported 1,000 people led by athletes marched to the Hennepin Bridge in downtown Minneapolis and took a knee in Floyd’s memory.
02:30 GMT – Police and protesters clash in New York City
Demonstrators took to New York City streets for a second day in protest over the death of Floyd and invoked the names of other Black people who died at police hands.
In Brooklyn, crowds of demonstrators chanted at police officers lined up outside the Barclays Center.
There were several moments of struggle, as some in the crowd pushed against metal barricades and police pushed back.
Water bottles flew from the crowd toward the officers, and in return police sprayed an eye-irritating chemical at the group twice.
01:54 GMT – Police in Atlanta use tear gas as mayor decries ‘chaos’
Police deployed tear gas to disperse crowds in downtown Atlanta, local media reported, as the city’s mayor pleaded with protesters to go home.
“What I see happening is not Atlanta. This is not a protest … this is chaos,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news briefing after protesters vandalised police cars, setting one vehicle on fire.
“When you burn down this city you’re burning down our community … you are disgracing our city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and the life of every other person who has been killed in this country. We’re better than this.”
“Go home,” she pleaded. “Go home.”
01:29 GMT – White House goes on brief lockdown
The White House went into a brief lockdown, according to US media, after hundreds of people gathered at a park across the street from the president’s mansion.
Peter Alexander, NBC News’s White House correspondent, said in a tweet: “The White House is under lockdown orders from the US Secret Service due to protests outside the gates over George Floyd.”
The lockdown was lifted about an hour later.
Demonstrators gathered at the Lafayette Park had wielded signs saying “Stop killing us” and called for justice for Floyd.
01:14 GMT – Denver mayor calls for calm
Michael Hancock, the mayor of Denver, Colorado, has called for calm and unity after the first of several planned city protests over Floyd’s death turned violent.
“Let not the story be about the riots and protests. Let’s keep the focus on the life that was lost,” he said.
“I can tell you not to go out and demonstrate but the reality is it’s going to happen,” Hancock said at a news briefing, stressing he shared outrage over what he has called the “senseless and tragic murder” of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Hancock blamed what he called a minority of agitators among peaceful protesters for inciting violence downtown on Thursday. That violence included throwing rocks at police officers, setting small fires, and breaking windows and damaging cars at the state Capitol and at businesses.
00:38 GMT – Police car set on fire in Atlanta
A police car was set on fire in Atlanta, where protesters used barricades to break the windows of cruisers while others jumped on the vehicles and shattered windshields as they demonstrated against the death of Floyd.
Hundreds of protesters confronted police outside CNN’s downtown headquarters. Activists spray-painted a large CNN logo outside the building, breaking a window and tagging doors. One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a Black Lives Matter flag to cheers from the crowd.
Protesters pelted officers who came over with bottles, striking some of them. Other bottles thrown at authorities exploded behind the police line, but no officers appeared to have been hit.
Protesters chanted: “Quit your jobs.”
The officers backed their line away from the group of protesters who were throwing objects at them.
Police ordered demonstrators to leave the street and threatened to arrest them if they did not leave quickly.
Friday, May 29
22:00 GMT – Protests kicking off in major US cities
Protests against police brutality were kicking off in major cities across the United States late on Friday.
Video shared on social media showed demonstrators marching in Houston, Texas, chanting: “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot”.
MUST-SEE VIDEO: Police blocked protesters from entering the Gulf Freeway at Allen Parkway in downtown Houston this afternoon during a march for George Floyd https://abc13.com/live-police-block-protesters-from-entering-i-45/6219448/?ex_cid=SND_KTRK_TW&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=snd …
Protesters also rallied in Washington, DC and New York City, with demonstrations scheduled in other major cities later on Friday and throughout the weekend.
21:15 GMT – Trump says he spoke with family of Floyd
US President Donald Trump said he had spoken with the family of Floyd.
Trump, speaking during an event at the White House, also said “we can’t allow” the demonstrations in Minneapolis “to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos”.
20:40 GMT – Minneapolis imposes weekend curfew
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has imposed a curfew in the city beginning on Friday night.
Under the curfew, only specified public safety personnel and other essential workers will be allowed in public places from 8pm to 6am (01:00-10:00 GMT) Friday and Saturday nights.
20:05 GMT – FBI asks for info, photos, video of Floyd’s death
The FBI in Minneapolis asked for public assistance with its civil rights investigation of the death of Floyd.
It encourages the public to provide any information, photos or videos from before, during or after the incident.
19:50 GMT – Floyd was unresponsive for nearly three minutes before officer removed knee: Complaint
Floyd was unresponsive for nearly three minutes before the officer removed his knee from his neck, according to a complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in the arrest of Derek Chauvin.
Citing a preliminary autopsy, the complaint said being constrained, underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system “likely contributed to his death”.
18:32 GMT – Trump defends tweet, says he was not glorifying violence
Responding to Twitter’s decision to hide President Donald Trump tweet that it deemed to be glorifying violence, Trump said he was only stating a fact.
“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night,” Trump tweeted, repeating the phrase he initially tweeted late on Thursday.
“It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!” Trump said.
The phrase “looting leads to shooting” was first used, however, by former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in declaring war on criminals, according to the Washington Post.
“I’ve let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Headley reportedly said.
18:10 GMT – Fired police officer charged with murder, manslaughter
A fired Minneapolis police officer has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before the Black man went motionless, a video of the incident showed.
Minneapolis residents called the arrest a good “first step” but demanded the three other officers involved be arrested and charged as well.
Freeman said those officers are still under investigation.
17:20 GMT – Fired officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck taken into custody, local media report
According to local media, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has taken into custody former officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before the Black man went motionless.
No criminal charges have been filed as of yet.
16:50 GMT – Obama: This should not be the normal in America
Former President Barack Obama issued a statement on Floyd’s killing via Twitter. Obama cited conversations with friends in recent days, including one with an African American business owner who said Floyd’s killing “hurt” to watch.
While it’s “natural” for people to want things to return to normal, Obama said, “we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’.”
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better,” Obama said.
16:05 GMT – National Guard arrives in Minneapolis
Members of the Minnesota National Guard arrived in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul areas. The National Guard said about 500 members would be sent to the area.
16:00 GMT – NABJ calls arrest of CNN journalist ‘unfathomable’
The on-air arrest of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez, who is Black, was condemned by Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
“It is unfathomable and upsetting to witness this structural racism in real time. We are closely monitoring this situation,” Tucker said in a tweet.
Local NABJ chapter head Nicole Norfleet reached out to Jimenez to offer support.
15:30 GMT – Minnesota governor apologises for CNN arrests, says there will be swift justice for Floyd
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he expects “swift” justice for Floyd.
“It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair,” Swift said. “That is what we’ve asked for. I have been in contact with Hennepin County attorney, and I am confident that those very things I just said will happen.”
Prosecutors have been criticised for taking more than three days to announce a decision on charges against the officers.
Walz also publicly apologised for the arrest of a CNN crew.
14:20 GMT – Biden ‘furious’ about Trump tweet
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said on Twitter he was “furious” about Trump’s tweet glorifying violence against protesters in Minneapolis.
“I will not lift the President’s tweet,” the former vice president said. “I will not give him that amplification. But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too.”
This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything.
Biden said he would speak later on Friday about the protests.
14:15 GMT – US first lady calls for peace
Striking a noticeably different tone from her husband, US First Lady Melania Trump tweeted her condolences to the family of Floyd and called for peace.
“Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence,” she said. “I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.”
Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence. I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.
13:10 GMT – Minnesota attorney general says charges are likely
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says he expects “there will be charges” against the police officers involved in Floyd’s deadly arrest.
“We are standing by and helping any way we can,” Ellison told CNN. “I anticipate there will be charges. I hope they’re soon. But that is the prerogative of another prosecuting authority. They are trying to be careful. They are trying to make sure their case is strong and airtight.”
12:00 GMT – Brother of George Floyd: ‘I just want justice’
Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, says he just wants justice.
Philonise said the protesters “have the same pain that I feel”.
“I want everybody to be peaceful right now but people are torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing Black men die constantly, over and over again,” Philonise told CNN.
“I understand and I see why a lot of people are doing a lot of different things around the world. I don’t want them to lash out like that, but I can’t stop people right now. Because they have pain. They have the same pain that I feel. I want everything to be peaceful, but I can’t make everybody be peaceful. I can’t. It’s hard.”
Read more here.
11:00 GMT – Twitter flags and hides Trump’s tweet that ‘glorified violence’
Twitter has, for the first time, flagged and hidden a tweet by Trump, saying he violated Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence.
Trump took to Twitter on Friday, saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, in reference to nationwide protests that followed the deadly arrest of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis.
Twitter flagged the second tweet with a disclaimer, saying: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” allowing the public to still view the tweet by clicking on “View”.
Read more here.
09:00 GMT – Protests over deadly arrest rock US’s Minneapolis
Protests erupted across the United States on Thursday night as anger over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, intensified, with some demonstrators gaining access to a police precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and setting sections of the building on fire.
Read more here.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the United States over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, and Creede Newton in Washington, DC.
Here are a few things to catch up on:
- George Floyd, unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on Monday after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck down to the ground for several minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying “I can’t breathe.” He eventually goes motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. (You can read about the deadly incident here.)
- The four officers involved in the incident were fired, but prosecutors have not made a decision on charges, angering Floyd’s family, community leaders and residents.
- Protests erupted across Minneapolis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. While they have started peacefully, they have descended into chaos and fires. There have been reports of looting and vandalism.
- Protesters on Thursday gained access to the Minneapolis third precinct police building, setting it on fire. A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard activated.
- Protests have also gripped other parts of the US, including New York City, Louisville, Kentucky, Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California. More protests are scheduled for the weekend.