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Chaos broke out on Tuesday night in Minneapolis as protesters took to the streets to demand action after the death of George Floyd in police custody a day earlier.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades on some protesters, reports said. The protest started peacefully but the situation deteriorated and some protesters were seen breaking windows of police cars and hurling rocks, reports said.
Floyd, 46, died Monday night and video later emerged showing the man on the ground with a police officer pressing his knee against his neck. Footage released of the incident showed Floyd shouting, “I cannot breathe” and “Don’t kill me.”
Officers had responded to a call from a grocery store that claimed Floyd had used allegedly a forged check.
Floyd’s death sparked new tensions between police and the black community.
“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us this will not go on another day,” a protester said, according to Minneapolis’s WCCO-TV.
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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, released a statement on Tuesday and called it another “horrifying and gutwrenching instance of an African American man dying.”
The protests began on the south side of Minneapolis, near where Floyd was arrested. Protesters were seen sitting in the crosswalks and using their own vehicles to block traffic. Organizers emphasized keeping this protest peaceful, but chaos began to swell during the day, according to Fox 9 Minneapolis.
Some carried signs reading “I can’t breathe” and “Jail killer KKKops,” according to the Guardian.
Protesters continued to block traffic during the evening. As the crowds grew, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota reminded protesters to keep their distance to help stop the spread of COVID-19, WCCO reported.
The sounds of motorcycles revving were also captured on video as they sent crowds running during the protest, with many demonstrators confused as to what was happening, according to the station.
The protesters later moved toward the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct where crowds swelled. People were seen throwing rocks at the building, as well as at police cruisers — with one being sprayed with paint, according to FOX 9.
Protesters threw water and milk bottles at the officers, shouting “pigs” and “how could you,” the Guardian reported. Police fired green teargas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd approaching the station.
Police officers deploy to disperse protesters gathered for George Floyd in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of the black man who died in police custody were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)
“It’s real ugly. The police have to understand that this is the climate they have created, this is the climate they created,” another protester said, according to WCCO.
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As rains came down in the city, demonstrators were seen using carts at a Target store as cover before police launched tear gas.
The four officers were terminated Tuesday. Klobuchar called a step in the right direction on Tuesday.
“Those responsible must still be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” she added. “Justice must be served.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, later called the actions by police “a disgusting display.”
“I’m here on the southside, helping people as I can with milk, water, and towels,” she said. “So far, I have been unable to prevent the police from firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Moments ago, I held a towel to a teenage girls head as blood poured from it”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Tuesday that the officers involved had been fired after they were initially placed on paid leave. The FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) are investigating Floyd’s death.
Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, told TMX.news the officer shown in the video with his knee on Floyd’s neck should be charged with murder and that the other officers should be charged as accomplices.
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“They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George,” Crump said. “We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect and serve us.”
Floyd’s death has prompted comparisons to that of Eric Garner, an African-American man whose death was brought on by an illegal chokehold during a 2014 interaction with New York City police. A video showed Garner repeatedly stating “I can’t breathe” while being choked on the ground.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report
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