Unrest mounts across multiple US cities over the death of George Floyd
Steve Almasy, Dakin Andone, Faith Karimi and Sara Sidner, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — Pain and anger over the death of George Floyd spilled over into multiple cities across the country hours after the former Minneapolis officer seen in video with his knee on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder.
Demonstrators funneled their anguish in cities like Atlanta, New York and Washington into chants, signs and outbreaks of violence, smashing windows and setting vehicles ablaze.
In Minneapolis, shop owners and citizens cleaned up damaged lots and protesters took a knee for Floyd while others marched on an interstate. Hundreds of people gathered at the stadium for the city’s NFL team, the Vikings.
In one of the most chaotic protests Atlanta has seen in years, demonstrators smashed windows of police cars outside CNN Center, which houses Precinct 5 of the Atlanta Police Department. At least one squad car was set on fire. Police in riot gear helped other force protesters back to Centennial Olympic Park.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people had peacefully marched a few miles to the Georgia Capitol and back to the park.
• Minneapolis and St. Paul are under a curfew instituted after days of protests marked by looting and arson.
• In Washington, DC, a protest outside the White House briefly caused the building to be placed on lockdown. It has since been lifted and the Secret Service has reopened entrances and exits to the White House campus for both staff and media.
• In New York, protesters and police clashed in various incidents Friday night outside the Barclays Center with protestors throwing water bottles, what appeared to be a bottle of paint and more at police officers. At least 12 people were arrested, police said.
• In Houston, demonstrators carried signs that said, “End police brutality” and “Black lives matter.”
• Protests also took place in Dallas; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia, and San Jose, California.
Floyd’s family is angry about the charges
On Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman charged Derek Chauvin, fired Minneapolis police officer seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, are upset that Chauvin wasn’t charged with a more serious offense.
“We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested,” Crump and the family said in a statement. “We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer.”
Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds in total, and 2 minutes, 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
The Minneapolis curfew began at 8 p.m. CT on Friday and last until Saturday at 6 a.m. The curfew will be in effect for Saturday evening as well, according to an emergency resolution signed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
The neighboring city of St. Paul imposed a similar curfew for Friday beginning at 8 p.m. CT, according to St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
Chauvin and three other officers detained Floyd in handcuffs Monday after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said. Outrage grew in the form of protests after a video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed, cried out that he couldn’t breathe.
Freeman said charges against the other three officers are likely.
“We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us. They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably,” he said.
The criminal complaint says, “Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind without regard for human life.”
If convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin would face up to 25 years in prison on the first charge and up to 10 years on the second.
The evidence in the case includes a cell phone video of the incident, body worn cameras, witness statements, a preliminary report from medical examiner, and discussions with an expert, Freeman said.
Complaint says death was from several factors
The preliminary autopsy report found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” according to the criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
The report added: “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta cautioned that the absence of physical evidence doesn’t necessarily mean Floyd didn’t die from asphyxiation.
Gupta also said that an officer should have started CPR after one of them told the others he couldn’t find a pulse.
Chauvin was arrested and taken into custody Friday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.
CNN has reached out to Chauvin’s attorney and the Minneapolis police union for comment.
Tensions boil over in Minneapolis
Overnight, the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct was set ablaze. Some protesters chanted Floyd’s name and “I can’t breathe,” and some tossed fireworks toward the precinct, which is the one closest to where the incident was captured on video.
State police, donning protective gear and carrying batons, lined up Friday morning near the site littered with debris and sprayed mace at protesters who got too close. Some responded by throwing projectiles at the officers as others fled.
Meantime, a CNN crew was released from police custody in Minneapolis after they were arrested Friday during a live broadcast at the site after clearly identifying themselves to officers. CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was placed in handcuffs while the cameras rolled, shortly followed by producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez.
The state patrol said the crew was “released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” CNN disputed that characterization, saying, “Our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists.”
“We’re doing OK, now,” Jimenez said, reporting again from downtown. “There were a few uneasy moments there.”
The Minneapolis Police Department said it evacuated staff from the Third Precinct for safety reasons. Authorities had set up a fence around it, but protesters pushed it over, officials said.
City officials warned protesters Thursday night to leave the precinct area, saying it may be in danger of exploding due to “unconfirmed reports” of severed gas lines.
More than 500 Minnesota National Guard personnel mobilized to several locations in the Minneapolis area, including banks, grocery stories and pharmacies.
Another community organizer, Shanene Herbert, told CNN Thursday before the night’s events that young people had “every right to be angry.”
“They have experienced trauma,” she said. “Seeing your friends, your families and even yourself harassed by the police and killed by the police, it’s traumatic. And they don’t know what to do with that.”
The Minneapolis mayor criticized the violent incidents.
“What we’ve seen over the past several hours and the past couple of nights in terms of looting is unacceptable,” Frey told reporters. “Our communities cannot and will not tolerate it.”
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