Parts of Minneapolis burn after George Floyd’s death sparks heated protests

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MINNEAPOLIS (CNN) — Parts on Minneapolis were burning Thursday morning after fury over the death of George Floyd sparked a chaotic night of rioting and clashes between law enforcement and protesters.

Demonstrators also marched in at least two other major US cities overnight as communities roiled over Monday’s death of Floyd, a black man who died after pleading for help after a police officer pinned him — unarmed and handcuffed — to the ground.

One of Floyd’s brothers cried Thursday morning as he said his family wants protests to be peaceful, but stressed people are struggling over seeing another black man die following a police encounter.

“I want everybody to be peaceful right now, but people are torn and hurt,” George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“These officers (involved in George’s arrest) need to be arrested right now … and held accountable about everything because these people want justice right now,” he said.

Minneapolis’ second night of protests transitioned to rioting and looting over a few blocks south of downtown, with people smashing their way into stores and setting businesses and other buildings ablaze.

A man was fatally shot near the protests, police said early Thursday. One person was arrested, and police said they’re investigating the nature of the incident.

Before the fires, demonstrators threw water bottles and firecrackers at officers and a police precinct building, breaking windows.

Fires eventually broke out at businesses in the area, including an AutoZone. Flames lit up a building under construction, one floor eventually collapsing.

At a nearby Target, video shows people taking cartloads of goods and loading them into their cars.

People also raided a Cub Foods grocery store. Thursday morning, its exterior glass lay shattered, and the ground inside was littered with groceries, as a interior fire sprinkler system sprayed water.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted Wednesday night the demonstration “evolved into an extremely dangerous situation” and asked protesters to leave and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.

In Los Angeles, hundreds of people marched to protest Floyd’s death. At one point, some demonstrators attacked a California Highway Patrol car.

“Peaceful demonstrations are a hallmark of our country. Violence is unwarranted and takes away from the message. I urge all of us to protest peacefully for the sake of everyone’s public safety,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.

In Memphis, Tennessee, police responded to a protest in riot gear and at least two people were arrested, CNN affiliate WHBQ reported.

The unrest followed the shock and anger that poured through communities across the country as video of Floyd’s last moments alive began circulating on social media.

The 46-year-old man — arrested Monday evening after police were called to investigate alleged forgery — was handcuffed and on the ground as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe as a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck. Three other officers also were at the scene.

Who the four officers are

The four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired this week from the Minneapolis Police Department. The cause of Floyd’s death hasn’t been released, and the incident is being investigated by local, state and federal authorities.

No charges have been filed, but Floyd’s family say they want murder charges for all four. Minneapolis’ mayor also called for charges against the officer who kept his knee on Floyd as the man begged for help.

“For five straight minutes a white officer on our police department pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was handcuffed, who was no threat and was articulating very clearly how he was impacted, how his physical health was being damaged and how he couldn’t breathe,” Mayor Jacob Frey told CNN Wednesday night.

In an earlier news conference, Frey called for criminal charges to be brought against that officer who was identified by his attorney Tom Kelly as Derek Chauvin. Kelly has not released a statement on Chauvin’s behalf.

“For the last 36 or 48 hours I’ve been asking myself that core underlying question ‘Why is the officer that killed George Floyd not in jail right now.’ And I can’t answer that question,” Frey said Wednesday night.

The other three officers were identified by police as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

Thomas Plunkett, representing Kueng, said, “At this time, out of respect for Mr. Floyd, we are declining all invitations to discuss these painful events.”

Earl Gray is representing another of the officers involved but has declined to say who his client is. CNN has not determined the attorney for the fourth officer.

Officers told witness Floyd resisted arrest

Donald Williams, a witness in the incident, told CNN he was about to walk into a store when he noticed commotion. He said he saw Floyd “panting for his life, begging for his forgiveness.”

Williams said Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and that his stomach and nose were hurting.

Williams’ description of events matches a video captured by one bystander in which Floyd can be heard yelling for help, saying, “I can’t breathe,” and that his body was hurting.

At one point Floyd says, “Give me some water or something. Please. Please.”

Williams said he tried to approach an officer and ask what was happening because he noticed Floyd’s nose was bleeding and his “eyes just turning a different color.”

But the officers didn’t give an explanation as to why one police officer’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck and instead told Williams Floyd was “resisting arrest.”

“I said, ‘Officer, he’s not resisting arrest, you have your knee on him and you have handcuffs on him, he’s detained at this moment,'” he said. One officer responded by saying “this is what drugs do to you,” according to Williams.

Floyd was declared dead at a nearby hospital shortly after. A medics team that responded to the incident worked on an “unresponsive, pulseless male,” according to a Minneapolis Fire Department narrative released by police.

Police have not released bodycam footage

Minneapolis police have not yet released bodycam footage from the officers involved.

But more pieces are coming together from the moments before Floyd’s death — one coming from surveillance footage from a nearby store that captures Floyd’s initial encounter with police.

Floyd is removed from a car, handcuffed and escorted by officers to a sidewalk and then out of the frame. He does not appear to be resisting arrest.

Bodycam footage was also released by the Minneapolis Park Police — a separate entity from Minneapolis police — which is heavily redacted.

In a statement, Minneapolis Park Police said the officer was about 118 feet away from where Floyd was pinned to the ground and not in a position to intervene.

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