- State Patrol, National Guard Begin Clearing Out Streets
- CNN Reporter Arrested On Air While Covering Minneapolis Unrest
- Body Found In North Minneapolis Leads To Death Investigation
- Mayor Frey Responds To President Trump’s Scathing Remarks
- City Warns Gas Line May Have Been Cut At 3rd Precinct
- 170 Buildings Damaged Or Looted In St. Paul
- Looting Attempts Reported At Malls Throughout Twin Cities
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis has entered the fourth day of unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, with rioters taking over the police department’s 3rd Precinct building late Thursday night.
The breach occurred at about 10 p.m., with rioters setting fires inside the building and outside near the main entrance.
Police released a statement just after 10 p.m., saying in part, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff. Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.”
WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle reports that the department had discussed withdrawing officers from the building as early as noon Thursday. Officers were also seen removing the American flag from the precinct’s pole at about 11:30 a.m.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke to the media early Friday morning, where he took responsibility for ordering police to leave the precinct after hours of discussion with Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Frey also addressed the harsh remarks President Donald Trump made on Twitter late Thursday night.
“Weakness is pointing the finger at someone else during a time of crisis. Donald J. Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell, and you better be damn sure we’re going to get through this!” Frey said.
About two-and-a-half hours after the president’s tweets, Twitter flagged the latter of the two, in which he wrote, of protests and riots in the Twin Cities, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” Twitter officials said.
About 90 minutes after the 3rd Precinct was overrun by rioters, city officials warned that the precinct building’s gas line may have been severed, and the building may be in danger of exploding.
The Minnesota National Guard said 500 soldiers arrived in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs late Thursday night to “protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate.”
After daybreak Friday, the soldiers, accompanied by the Minnesota State Patrol, began clearing people out of the area around the 3rd Precinct. Around 6 a.m., troopers arrested a black CNN correspondent, Omar Jimenez, and his crew as they reported on the unrest in city live on air. A white correspondent nearby was not arrested, the network said.
CNN reported that Jimenez was released before 7 a.m. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz personally apologized to the network’s president, accepting full responsibility.
In north Minneapolis overnight, a woman’s body was found in a car, prompting a death investigation. Police say there were signs of trauma on the body, which was found at the intersection of Bryant and 17th avenues. This could be the second fatal incident connected with the nights of unrest in the city.
St. Paul was spared from the chaos Wednesday night, but that all changed Thursday. The St. Paul Police Department said more than 170 businesses were looted or damaged Thursday, and dozens of fires were set. But there were no serious injuries reported in the city. Fires continued to burn in the city early Friday morning, with the largest one at Big Top Liquor near Snelling and University avenues, nearby Allianz Field.
Looters entered Northtown Mall in Blaine late Thursday night, but police said they soon took control of the shopping center.
Police presence was also strong throughout downtown Minneapolis early Friday morning.
Thousands gathered in downtown Minneapolis early Thursday evening at the Hennepin County Government Center to demand justice for Floyd, before marching down Marquette Avenue.
Peaceful protesters made their way down Nicollet Mall, where several businesses boarded up their first floor windows, including Target, JB Hudson Jewelers and Haskell’s Wine and Spirits. Jack Farrell, Haskell’s president, said he respects the protest, but if his business gets looted or damaged, he’s not sure if it will be able to recover — especially in light of revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This could be the death knell for downtown Minneapolis,” Farrell said.
By about 9 p.m., tensions began to flare up between protesters and law enforcement near the light rail station off 5th Street and Hennepin Avenue.
Some of those protesters took to Interstate 35W just before 10 p.m., leading to the closure the Washington Avenue exit.
In south Minneapolis, police say there was a shooting at about 8:30 p.m. at the Walgreens pharmacy on the 3100 block of Lake Street, just a few blocks down from the 3rd Precinct protest site.
Within the hour of the shooting, MaX It PAWN shop near the 3rd Precinct erupted in flames.
Earlier, the Target store near the 3rd Precinct, which was looted Wednesday night, became another chaotic focal point, with dozens of people gathered in the parking lot. A car was set on fire just after 7 p.m.
Looting spread to St. Paul beginning early Thursday afternoon, with businesses being targeted along University Avenue in the Midway neighborhood. Police clashed with looters and protesters for hours.
The looting expanded throughout the city Thursday evening, with Grand Avenue businesses in peril.
By 8 p.m., there were reports of several fires in the Capitol city.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday afternoon to activate the National Guard to “to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death.” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also declared a local emergency late Thursday.
Several businesses in the Twin Cities closed down and boarded up in anticipation of continued riots and looting, including Mall of America and Rosedale Center. Metro Transit announced the suspension of all buses and light rail operation through the weekend.
On Wednesday night, protests outside of Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct building turned into a fiery, deadly riot, with dozens of businesses along East Lake Street looted. At least 15 fires were intentionally set in the area, including at an AutoZone store, a Wendy’s restaurant and an affordable housing complex that was under construction. All three completely burned down.
Rioters hurled a variety of projectiles at officers, the 3rd Precinct building and squad cars, while rubber bullets and tear gas canisters were launched by police. Businesses several miles west on Lake Street also reported looting, including in Uptown’s densely-packed business district along Hennepin Avenue.
An East Lake Street pawn shop owner is now in police custody after allegedly shooting a suspected looter dead during Wednesday night’s chaos.
Floyd, 46, died Sunday night outside of Cup Foods, near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, after former officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for more than seven minutes.
The store’s owner, Mahmod Abumayaleh, told WCCO one of his employees called 911 on Floyd because he bought a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The owner says he confronted Floyd, who was sitting in his car outside. He says Floyd apologized and gave back the cigarettes. Abumayaleh said Floyd appeared to be intoxicated and seemed somewhat out of control. He says he wants justice for Floyd, and has offered to pay his funeral expenses.
Protesters also gathered for a third day outside Chauvin’s Oakdale home. Six people were arrested outside his residence Wednesday night for unlawful assembly.
Chauvin was fired Monday by Chief Arradondo, along with the three other officers involved: Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. Thao was seen standing between Chauvin and bystanders who were recording the encounter, while Lane and Kueng helped restrain the handcuffed Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Several lawmakers and politicians, including Mayor Frey, have called for the arrest of all four officers and the swift filing of criminal charges. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced early Thursday evening that he was not ready to do so.
“We’re going to investigate [Floyd’s death] as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands,” Freeman said. “Sometimes, that takes a little time and we ask people to be patient. We have to do this right.”
Freeman’s delay sparked criticism from Maryland State Attorney General Marilyn Mosby, who took issue with Freeman’s remarks about her state’s handling of Freddie Gray’s death in 2015.