MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protesters gathered again Wednesday at the south Minneapolis intersection where George Floyd lost consciousness with the knee of a city police officer pressing against his neck. They also gathered at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct at Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue.
While the protest at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has been a peaceful and mournful scene, WCCO’s Jeff Wagner witnessed dozens of people looting the Target store near the 3rd Precinct, beginning just before 7 p.m. There are also reports of other neighboring businesses being looted.
At about 6 p.m., WCCO’s Marielle Mohs said police began firing chemical irritant and firing rubber bullets, as video on social media shows some protesters once again began breaking the precinct’s windows.
Earlier in the day, dozens of people blocked traffic at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street, where police were recorded Monday evening pinning Floyd — an unarmed black man — to the pavement as he repeatedly told them he couldn’t breathe. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly thereafter.
The protest was peaceful, with demonstrators chanting, lifting signs, and standing in the intersection to block traffic.
Cars parked in the street, blocking three sides of the intersection. At one point, when a car approached, a protestor told them to turn around, saying “We ain’t moving.”
As they stood outside Cup Foods, the protesters were lead through prayer and chants. Some left memorials, while others used chalk and spray paint to write messages on the street. The words “Justice for Floyd” and “Black Lives Matter” were written with spray paint in between the lines of the sidewalk.
At the time, no police were present.
A group also gathered outside of what they believe to be fired officer Derek Chauvin’s home in Oakdale for the second day in a row.
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, announced he would be representing Floyd’s family on Tuesday afternoon. He later called for peaceful protests and social distancing.
“The community is understandably and rightfully upset by the wrongful death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, and their grief and outrage are pouring out onto the streets of Minneapolis,” he said in a statement. “We share these painful emotions and demand justice, but we also urge everyone who wishes to raise their voice to engage in peaceful protests and observe social distancing.”
The protests starting Tuesday afternoon, when thousands gathered at the intersection of Chicago Ave. and E. 38th St. Though it began peacefully, the tone of the protest shifted in the evening as a small group marched towards the 3rd Precinct headquarters and clashed with officers in riot gear.
After the bystander video of Floyd’s arrest circulated Tuesday on social media – sparking outrage across the country – Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired Chauvin and three other officers involved in the encounter. Chauvin was identified Tuesday, while Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Keung were identified by the City of Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon.
Chauvin and his three former colleagues were initially called to the Powderhorn neighborhood intersection Monday evening on a report of someone trying to use a forged document at a deli.
Minneapolis police initially said that Floyd resisted arrest, but video obtained by CBS News contradicts that, at least in the early moments of the encounter.
On Wednesday afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to charge the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck. He also stated that he wanted the body camera video of the incident released as soon as possible.
Floyd’s death is currently under investigation by the FBI, the Minnesota Department of Criminal Apprehension, and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.