Protests, rioting and looting intensified last night in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd earlier this week. Police officers abandoned the third district station as it was taken over by rioters and burned.
From the Associated Press:
Cheering protesters torched a Minneapolis police station Thursday that the department was forced to abandon as three days of violent protests spread to nearby St. Paul and angry demonstrations flared across the U.S over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.
A police spokesman confirmed late Thursday that staff had evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel” shortly after 10 p.m. Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set.
Protesters could be seen setting fire to a Minneapolis Police Department jacket.
Late Thursday, President Donald Trump blasted the “total lack of leadership” in Minneapolis. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he said on Twitter.
A visibly tired and frustrated Frey made his first public appearance of the night at City Hall near 2 a.m. and took responsibility for evacuating the precinct, saying it had become too dangerous for officers there. As Frey continued, a reporter cut across loudly with a question: “What’s the plan here?”
“With regard to?” Frey responded. Then he added: “There is a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that … What we have seen over the past several hours and past couple of nights here in terms of looting is unacceptable.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addresses the burning of a police precinct amid protests over the fatal arrest of George Floyd: “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or the public.” pic.twitter.com/ALUNx4yfcU
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 29, 2020
He defended the city’s lack of engagement with looters — only a handful of arrests across the first two nights of violence — and said, “We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace.” He said Guard members were being stationed in locations to help stem looting, including banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.
MSNBC reporter just now: “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not generally speaking unruly.”
The guy is literally standing in front of a burning building in the middle of a riot. pic.twitter.com/IzCV6On4sF
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 29, 2020
To help the overwhelmed mayor, Governor Tim Walz activated five hundred national guard troops late last night to try to protect citizens and businesses.
We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 29, 2020
It’s the first time the National Guard has been activated for a civil disturbance since 2008 when Gov. Tim Pawlenty deployed 300 troops to control riots outside the Republican National Convention.
The National Guard Adjutant General will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to respond to and recover from this emergency, according to the news release.
About 200 Minnesota State Patrol troopers will also assist in public safety efforts over the next several days.
Given the violence and extent of the rioting and looting in the city, that number seems wholly insufficient. Meanwhile, demonstrations expanded to other cities including Louisville, where violence broke out as people protested the shooting of Breonna Taylor by police in March while executing a plainclothes no-knock raid on her home.
Fromt he AP:
At least seven people were shot in Louisville as protesters turned out to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.
Louisville Metro Police confirmed in a statement early Friday that there were at least seven shooting victims, at least one of whom is in critical condition. The statement said there were “some arrests,” but police didn’t provide a number.
“No officers discharged their service weapons,” police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Washington said that all seven were civilians.
Around 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the Kentucky city’s downtown streets on Thursday night, the Courier Journal reported. The protests stretched for more than six hours, ending in the early hours of Friday as rain poured down.
“Understandably, emotions are high,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted just before midnight, sharing a Facebook post asking for peace that he said was written on behalf of Taylor’s mother. “As Breonna’s mother says let’s be peaceful as we work toward truth and justice.”
Police made some arrest during the protest, according to LMPD’s statement, but the department did not specify how many. More information will be made available Friday.
The crowd quickly dispersed from Jefferson Street after the shots were fired, and a large group of LMPD officers wearing riot gear entered the area to try and clear everyone out. Police then appeared to fire tear gas into the area when protesters refused to leave. …
Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt, posted a statement on behalf of Taylor’s mother to her Facebook page, according to a tweet from Fischer.
“We are so grateful for everyone giving Bre a voice tonight, for saying her name, for demanding truth, for demanding justice and for demanding accountability. Please keep demanding this. But please keep it peaceful. Do not succumb to the levels that we see out of the police. Speak. Protest. But do not resort to violence. We demand change. We demand reform. But we do not need for our community to get hurt. We need for our community to get justice. Thank you all so very much. #JusticeForBre”