MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was chaos and destruction in Minneapolis Tuesday night as police officers and protesters clashed over the death of George Floyd.
The outrage began with a video showing police arresting the 46-year-old in south Minneapolis Monday night.
“I can’t breathe! Please, the knee on my neck,” Floyd is heard saying in the video.
The video shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street for more than seven minutes. Floyd died a short time later at Hennepin Healthcare.
PHOTO GALLERY: Protesters Clash With Police After George Floyd’s Death
Thousands flooded the streets at that same intersection Tuesday afternoon to protest Floyd’s death. They packed the area, but were also spread out to try to be socially distant.
Organizers emphasized keeping this protest peaceful. People took turns sharing their frustrations and grief with the crowd. Chants of “I can’t breathe,” and “It could’ve been me,” filled the air.
“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us this will not go on another day,” a protester said.
George Floyd (credit: Reg Chapman)
Protesters were glad to know the four officers involved were fired, but they say true justice won’t be served until there’s charges and a conviction.
At about 6 p.m., the protest turned into a march towards the 3rd Precinct, where it is believed that the officers worked. A much smaller group than the initial protest started vandalizing the building, shattering a window and spray painting squad cars.
“It’s real ugly. The police have to understand that this is the climate they have created, this is the climate they created,” another protester said.
Officers then showed up in riot gear, and started firing tear gas and flash grenades as protesters hurled rocks, water bottles and anything they could get their hands on towards the officers.
“I got on my knees and I put up a peace sign and they tear gassed me,” another protester said. “And I said, ‘Tear gas me again because non-violence seems healing.’”
The unruly crowd measured in the hundreds, a far cry from the peaceful group at the start of the protest.
By Jeff Wagner