Outrage over the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis is intensifying. Protests have now erupted to the point where Minnesota Governor, Tim Walz, has called in the National Guard to support local authorities.
Floyd, who was pinned to the ground and suffocated by a policemen driving his knee into the unarmed 46-year-old man’s neck during an arrest on Monday, has become the latest name added to a long list of black Americans that have been killed by officers of various United States police departments.
Comparisons have been drawn between Floyd’s pleas of “I can’t breathe” and those of Eric Garner, who was also suffocated to death in a chokehold in 2014 and protesters at the Minneapolis Precinct, calling for the officers involved to be charged with manslaughter were heard screaming “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired”.
“These officers, they need to be arrested right now, the people want justice right now,” Philonese Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN on Thursday morning.”They need to be convicted and get the death penalty.”
“Say his name. George Floyd,” protesters chanted, according to Al Jazeera. “I can’t breathe.”
However, the peaceful protests eventually escalated into violence, with protesters starting fires near the third precinct of the Minneapolis police department. A video stream from independent media outlet, Unicorn Riot, also showed protesters entering the precinct and alarms and sprinklers going off as some rooms were set ablaze.
There were also unconfirmed reports of powerlines being cut, with Minneapolis police urging people to retreat from the area.
“We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”
Minnesota governor, Tim Walz has called in the US National Guard to aid local authorities to control the situation.
This also coincides with the occupation of the street outside of the home of Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman – the man who will handle the case against the police officers, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng – demanding justice for Floyd’s death.
“We aren’t going anywhere until Mike Freeman prosecutes and charges the officers,” protesters said in a Facebook Live video. Tents were also erected on the sidewalks.