Minneapolis – Protesters angry at the death of George Floyd, an African American who died after being detained by police, entered a headquarters in Minneapolis on Thursday, on the third consecutive night of violent protests, which have spread beyond the city.
A live video showed protesters accessing the building, where fire alarms and sprinklers sounded as fires started. Police appeared to have abandoned the building located in a neighborhood not far from where Floyd died on Monday.
Protesters breached the Minneapolis police precinct in the neighborhood where George Floyd died in police custody, setting fire to the building as dozens watched it burn late Thursday https://t.co/MJ0JibRJFh pic.twitter.com/nV535R5sVLRELATED
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A spokesman did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.
In images recorded by a pedestrian, Floyd can be seen lying on his back, saying that he cannot breathe while police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, immobilizes him with his knee on his neck. As the minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.
Dozens of businesses in Twin Cities covered their displays and doors with boards on Thursday to try to prevent looting, while Target, a Minneapolis-based retail chain, announced that it will temporarily close two dozen stores in the area. Minneapolis suspended almost all of its train and bus services until Sunday for security reasons.
In St. Paul, clouds of smoke hovered in the air as agents dressed in gas masks and body protection equipment watched over the nonconformists on one of the city’s main shopping streets, where firefighters had to put down a series of small fires. . At one point, the police lined up in front of a Target establishment to try to block looters, who were also breaking the windows of other businesses.
Hundreds of protesters returned Thursday to the Minneapolis neighborhood at the center of the violence, where the nightlife ranged from angry protests to a street party. At one point, a band playing in a parking lot in front of the 3rd Police Precinct, the focus of the mobilizations, performed a punk version of Bob Marley’s song “Redemption Song”. Nearby, protesters carried clothing dummies from a looted Target and threw them into a burning car. Later, there was a fire in a nearby building.
But in other areas of Minneapolis, thousands of people marched peacefully through the streets demanding justice.
Earlier in the day, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz mobilized the National Guard to try to stem the protests.
The city released a transcript of the 911 emergency phone call Thursday that took police to the grocery store where Floyd was arrested. The caller explained that someone paid with a fake ticket and that when the employees ran after him, they found the man sitting in a van. According to the complainant, the man was “terribly drunk and has no control over himself.” Asked by the 911 operator about whether the suspect was “under the influence of something,” he replied, “Something like that, yes. He is not acting well. According to police, Floyd matched the suspect’s description.
The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Minneapolis said Thursday they were conducting “a solid criminal investigation” into the death. The president of the country, Donald Trump, said that he asked that the investigation be accelerated.
The FBI is also investigating whether Floyd’s civil rights were violated.
Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the knee, was fired Tuesday along with three other officers who were involved in the arrest.