Protests unfold nationwide over George Floyd’s death as Minneapolis burns

Angry demonstrations flared in Minneapolis for a third consecutive day as protesters torched a Minneapolis police station Thursday night and protests spread to nearby St. Paul. The unrest was sparked by the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.

Protests have erupted nationwide.

Floyd’s arrest was captured in a video seen by millions around the world, sparking global outrage. It shows Floyd laying on the ground with white officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pinning him to the ground as he begged, “I can’t breathe.”

Four officers in the incident were fired, and on Friday, Chauvin was taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 3 minutes after he was non-responsive, complaint says
In a criminal complaint filed Friday afternoon, prosecutors wrote that Dererk Chauvin “had his knee on [George] Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive.”

“Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint, which says police encountered Floyd while investigating the possible use of a counterfeit $20 bill.

Prosecutors said Floyd complied with orders from police officers to leave his vehicle but did not “voluntarily” get in their squad car. “While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe,” they wrote.

Floyd was soon brought to the ground. One officer held Floyd’s back, another his legs, as Chauvin placed his left on Floyd’s neck. Floyd repeated, “I can’t breathe,” “Mama,” and “please,” as the minutes went by.

Eventually, one officer asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Prosecutors said Chauvin replied, “No, staying put where we got him.” The officer, Thomas Lane, said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” a condition associated with officer-involved deaths.

Prosecutors wrote that none of the three officers moved from their positions.

President Trump doesn’t address Minneapolis unrest at news conference
President Trump held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Friday but did not take any questions from reporters and did not speak on the days-long protests in Minneapolis.

Mr. Trump instead announced new policies to “protect American security and prosperity” against a list of grievances by the Chinese government. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said, before claiming that China instigated the coronavirus pandemic.

The president said the United States will be “terminating” its relationship with the World Health Organization, and announced he’s suspending the entry of certain foreign Chinese nationals and sanctioning Chinese officials who have eroded Hong Kong’s freedom.
The president ignored shouted questions from reporters.

Barr says arrest video is “harrowing to watch and deeply disturbing”.
Attorney General William Barr has issued a statement addressing the investigations into the death of George Floyd.

“The video images of the incident that ended with death of Mr. Floyd, while in custody of Minneapolis police officers, were harrowing to watch and deeply disturbing,” Barr said, adding that the state prosecutor is determining whether state criminal charges are appropriate.

The FBI is also investigating whether civil rights charges are appropriate.

“Both state and federal officers are working diligently and collaboratively to ensure that any available evidence relevant to these decisions is obtained as quickly as possible,” Barr added. “This process is proceeding quickly. As is the typical practice, the state’s charging decisions will be made first. I am confident justice will be served.”

2:46 PM
Minneapolis NAACP president calls for all four officers to be arrested and charged
Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, has called for all four officers involved in the death of George Floyd to be arrested, charged “and eventually convicted.”

“Those four officers stood, kneeled and killed George Floyd,” Redmond said at a press conference held by Floyd’s friends on Friday. “All humanity should be outraged,” she said.

Her call came after Derek Chauvin, the arresting officer, was taken into custody. Video shows Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as he begs for help shortly before his death.

Redmond said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has held up progress in the case. All four officers have been fired from the force, but only Chauvin has been taken into custody.

Shortly after Redmond spoke, Freeman announced that Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, and that subsequent charges may be filed in the case.

Redmond also voiced her support for the Minneapolis protests, calling the unrest “not just a black people issue” but a “human rights issue.”

2:41 PM
Joe Biden speaks on Floyd’s death and situation in Minnesota
Joe Biden said Friday he has spoken with George Floyd’s family and is calling for justice. The former vice president blamed systemic racism, which he called “an open wound” on American society, for Floyd’s death.

He said in a brief online appearance it’s time for deep and lasting police reform.

Biden also took an indirect swipe at President Trump without naming him, saying it was, “No time for incendiary tweets. No time to incite violence.”

2:31 PM
Attorneys call for independent probe
Attorneys for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are calling for an independent investigation of the actions leading to Floyd’s death. They also want national reforms in response to the three deaths.

Attorney Ben Crump said during a news conference Friday he’s asked to take custody of George Floyd’s body for an independent autopsy.

He and attorney Lee Merritt said they want murder charges brought against the four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. And they want the Minnesota attorney general to take over the investigation.

Crump said the families from Georgia, Kentucky and now Minnesota have all had to dispel narratives from law enforcement that their loved ones “brought this upon themselves.” They cited an initial report in Floyd’s case that said he threatened police and died of a medical condition.

2:19 PM
Ex-officer Derek Chauvin charged with murder and manslaughter
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday that former police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin, who was taken into custody, is the only officer to be charged in Floyd’s death. Freeman said at a press conference Friday there may be subsequent charges.

“We have charged this case as quickly as sufficient admissible evidence to charge it has been investigated and presented to us,” he said, adding that this is “by far” the fastest they have ever charged an officer.

“We have now been able to put together the evidence that we need. Even as late as yesterday afternoon we didn’t have all that we needed, we have now found it” he said.

Freeman said the evidence includes the viral citizen’s video, body cam footage, witness reports and a preliminary report from the medical examiner.

JUST IN: Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

2:14 PM
Cuomo: “I stand, figuratively, with the protesters”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commented Friday on George Floyd’s death at his daily coronavirus briefing.

“I stand, figuratively, with the protesters,” he said. “I stand against the arson and the burglary and criminality. I stand with the protesters, and I think all well-meaning Americans stand with the protesters.”

“Enough is enough. How many times do you have to see the same lesson replayed before you do something?” he said.

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1:34 PM
Ex-officer Derek Chauvin arrested in death of George Floyd
Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested days after George Floyd’s fatal arrest that sparked protests and outcry across the city and nation.

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced that Chauvin has been taken into custody in connection with the May 25 death.

1:17 PM
Restaurant that says it was damaged speaks out in support of protests
A post on the Facebook page of Gandhi Mahal, a restaurant in Minneapolis, says the institution caught fire in protests, but spoke out in support of them anyway. The post said it was written by Hafsa, the daughter of the owner, Ruhel Islam.

“This is Hafsa, Ruhel’s daughter writing, as I am sitting next to my dad watching the news, I hear him say on the phone; ‘ let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail’,” the post read.

“Gandhi Mahal May have felt the flames last night, but our firey drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone,” the post said.

CBS Minnesota reports the restaurant is located across the street from an AutoZone on Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue that was burned to the ground in protests.

8:51 AM
Minnesota governor holds press conference, calls for calm
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz held a press conference Friday, calling for calm in the streets of Minneapolis.

Walz said restoring order to the streets is crucial to begin work to repair systemic societal injustices in the state. He called to “rebuild” trust between the community and law enforcement.

“Our community, especially our black community, is hurting beyond words,” Walz said Friday. “Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain and anguish unheard.”

12:59 PM
Owner of store where police first encountered George Floyd speaks out
The owner of the south Minneapolis store where police first made contact with George Floyd is speaking out. The family-owned business has come under fire after a phone call to police about the passing of a counterfeit $20 bill led to Floyd begging a Minneapolis police officer for his life.

Cup Foods owner Mahmod Abumayaleh told CBS Minnesota he is with the community in wanting justice for the Floyd family, the station reported on Thursday.

“We don’t just work in the community. That is our community. We know the community. It’s a vibe that is unmatched to any other community. It’s the best thing that’s happened to our family,” said Abumayyaleh.

He said officers were called because of a counterfeit $20 bill Floyd used to buy a pack of cigarettes.

“I was not there. The staff that called police followed protocol,” Abumayaleh said. “When he identified the bill was fake the patron was out of the establishment. When the police arrived, he was outside of the establishment, which normally never takes place. Why he was still there, we’re not sure,” Abumayyaleh said.

He said what happened on the street outside his establishment should never have ended with a man dying.

“Most of the times when patrons give us a counterfeit bill they don’t even know it’s fake, so when the police are called there is no crime being committed. They just want to know where they got it from, and that’s usually what takes place,” he said.

“This was a very circumstantial event that ended in a tragedy and unfortunately we’re taking a lot of animosity for it,” he said.

He said he is prepared to do what he can for the family.

12:48 PM
Obama: “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America”
Former President Barack Obama issued a statement Friday about George Floyd’s death, saying it shouldn’t be “normal” for people in the United States to be treated differently because of their race.

“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter. “But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account or race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in the park,” Obama wrote, referencing recent allegedly racist incidents in Georgia and New York City.

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better,” he said.

He said it falls on all of us “to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

12:27 PM
Rally planned Friday in Houston
Black Lives Matter is planning to hold a “Justice for George” rally Friday afternoon in downtown Houston, CBS affiliate KHOU reports. The rally and protest are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and organizers are asking that people march to Houston City Hall.

“We demand accountability and justice for black lives in Houston and around this country!” Black Lives Matter Houston said on Facebook. “George Floyd is one of the many victims of police violence and should be alive! We will uplift his name.”

Police said they are talking with organizers to ensure safety. Uniformed and plain-clothed officers will be at the protest, police told KHOU.

11:56 AM
CNN reporter back on air after arrest
Omar Jimenez, one of three CNN crew members arrested Friday morning while covering the unrest in Minneapolis, is back on-air.
Jimenez was arrested on live TV while reporting near the police precinct that was set on fire during protests.

Minnesota state police said in a tweet that “in the course of clearing the streets and restoring order… four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”

CNN contested the tweet, noting that Jimenez repeatedly identified himself as a reporter before being arrested. Jimenez later said on air that the crew had been in “verbal contact” with officers before their arrest.

Jimenez told CNN that officers were “cordial” with him during the arrest: “No animosity there, they weren’t violent with me.” He said a lot of law enforcement appeared to be “on edge” due to the week’s events.

According to Jimenez, police did not explain why he was arrested. “There was no sort of ‘sorry this is a big misunderstanding’ … it seemed that conversation may have happened, but it didn’t happen with us in particular,” he said.

11:32 AM
Colorado House won’t convene Friday or Saturday due to protests
The Colorado House won’t convene on Friday or Saturday because of the violent nature of protests outside the Colorado State Capitol on Thursday night, CBS Denver reports.

State lawmakers had just returned to work this week after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close mid-session.

House leaders said they would not return to the House chambers to leave space for expected protests that are expected to again take place in Denver on Friday and Saturday. They called for peaceful protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota rather than vandalism and violence.

Video from Thursday showed a protester with a bandana over his face smashing a metal rod through a window of a parked car in one of the many examples of things getting out of control, CBS Denver reported.

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Police took several people into custody and had to throw flash-bang devices in the street to disperse some of the crowd late in the night. They also used pepper spray or pepper balls.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock responded by saying, “You can be angry. You can be outraged. I certainly am and I join you in those feelings and demands of #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd. March for justice and to see it served, but please march in peace. Responding to violence with violence will only lead to more violence.”

Denver police face off with protesters outside the State Capitol over the death of George Floyd on May 28, 2020 in Denver.

11:17 AM
Another protest is planned in NYC over George Floyd’s death
A protest, organized by faith leaders, is planned for Friday afternoon at Foley Square in Manhattan. Organizers are encouraging the protest in New York City to be peaceful and are calling on the City Council to reintroduce and pass a chokehold bill, CBS New York reports.

Protesters took to Union Square in the city on Thursday, marching to City Hall and shutting down traffic in Lower Manhattan. Demonstrations were overall orderly, but turned tense, with fights breaking out between protesters and police. Some threw traffic drums at officers and tried to take their bikes.

Dozens of people were arrested overnight during demonstrations.

Protesters clash with police during a rally against the death of Minneapolis, Minnesota man George Floyd at the hands of police on May 28, 2020 in Union Square in New York City.

11:03 AM
Photos show widespread destruction
Buildings were still smoldering in Minneapolis Friday morning after fires were set throughout the night. More than 100 buildings were damaged or looted in protests that entered their fourth day on Friday, according to CBS Minnesota reporter Christiane Cordero.

Things came to a head in the city around 4 a.m. after the police department’s third precinct went up in flames. Cordero said on CBSN Minnesota that many fires were not being attended to as firefighters were spread thin across the city.

“The Hexagon Bar is gone,” she tweeted.

South 27th and East 26th. A few blocks north of the precinct. The Hexagon Bar is gone.

10:49 AM
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says Trump’s “angry words” over George Floyd protests are “feeding an ugly cycle”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison responded to a controversial tweet from President Trump, saying that “calling people thugs and calling on people to get shot” stems from the same kind of attitude that resulted in George Floyd’s death, in an interview with “CBS This Morning” Friday.

“The tough guy, macho man, ‘I’m going to make you do what I want you to do’ attitude is the heart of the problem,” he said.
Mr. Trump on Friday called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and vowed that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet was quickly flagged by Twitter as “glorifying violence.”

Ellison called on Mr. Trump and others to stop the angry rhetoric that has permeated the conversation surrounding Floyd’s death, after a third night of protests over the lack of criminal charges for the officers involved saw buildings burn and windows broken.

“Violence begets violence,” he said, adding that Mr. Trump’s “angry words” are feeding “an ugly cycle that is going on in my beloved city which I’m so proud of.”

He said that public focus needs to shift from protests to the “message of justice for George.”

“When you are in the business of prosecution and investigation, prejudging what you’re going to do before you have facts is not a good idea,” he said. “But we have all seen the video tape. It’s deeply disturbing. It looks very, very much like George Floyd was abused, mistreated and it looks like that knee on his neck may well have caused his death.”

Ellison acknowledged that he “clearly” has his own opinion on whether the kneeling officer, Derek Chauvin, and the other three officers involved should be charged. But he said the did not want to “prejudice” the investigation.

Asked why the officers have not been arrested despite mounting calls for charges, Ellison simply said “the answer is the authority for making the charge decision has not done so.”

“Do they have good reasons? I assume so,” he said.

10:40 AM
Minneapolis’ Star Tribune headline: “A STATE OF AGONY”
The Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper, led Friday’s paper with the headline: “A STATE OF AGONY.” The Tribune reports “the Twin Cities convulsed with chaos” Thursday night as crowds protested George Floyd’s death.

The front page was paired with reports on the police precinct that fell to flames late Thursday night, as well as the presence of the National Guard on Minneapolis streets.

The National Guard “went to the Third Precinct to try to make it safe for firefighters, but just after midnight, little firefighting was able to take place, with rioters remaining in the area, throwing projectiles and according to one witness, shooting bullets into the building,” the Tribune reported.

10:24 AM
George Floyd’s family attorney says lack of charges for officers like “killing George all over again”
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King Friday, the attorney for George Floyd’s family, renowned civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, said Floyd’s death is “all too familiar.”

“Tragically this family, yet another black family, is in turmoil and just heartbroken after witnessing with their very eyes, a young man who they’ve known all their life,” Crump said. “They’re reflecting now, knowing that George is gone.”

Floyd’s arrest was captured in a video now seen by millions around the world, sparking global outrage. It shows Floyd, who is black, laying on the ground with white Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pinning him to the ground as he begged, “I can’t breathe.”

Crump said the family would be having a doctor perform an “independent autopsy,” citing a lack of trust in law enforcement, and called the press conference where District Attorney Mike Freeman said there was not enough probable cause to make an arrest yet “an insult on top of injury.”

Crump said the lack of charges for the officers was like “killing George all over again.”

“The fact that you see on the video, Gayle, the police have their knee on the neck – on his neck – not for one minute, not for two minutes, not for three minutes… but over eight minutes. And that’s what we cannot unsee, and that’s why his family’s in pain. That’s why the protesters are in pain,” he said. Crump called the shootings of black men “open-season killings” and said nobody was being held accountable.

“Where is the justice for George Floyd?” he asked. “Where is the justice for black America?”

10:13 AM
Protests spread to other U.S. cities
Protests have unfolded nationwide over the death of George Floyd.

In Columbus, a demonstration began peacefully but turned violent, with windows smashed at the Ohio Statehouse and storefronts along surrounding downtown streets. The crowd of around 400 people entered into a standoff with Columbus police Thursday night, blocking the intersection of key streets in the Ohio capital for hours, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

In Phoenix, hundreds rallied, marching from Phoenix City Hall to the state Capitol on Thursday night into Friday morning carried signs reading, “Silence is violence” and “Being black should not be a death sentence,” The Arizona Republic reported.

Protests also hit Louisville, Denver and New York, where angry protesters staged a chaotic rally in Manhattan, where they faced off with officers enforcing social distancing rules.

Scores of demonstrators, some wearing masks and some not, massed in Union Square and marched through the streets chanting “I can’t breathe” and waving signs with slogans including, “Police brutality and murder must stop.”

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9:46 AM
Police hold a line in Minneapolis
Pictures and video coming out of Minneapolis Friday morning showed police in the city holding a line as unrest continued for a fourth day over the death of George Floyd.

About 100 officers were on Lake Street, trying to push people out of the area near the 3rd Precinct, CBSN Minnesota reported.

Target closes 24 stores around Twin Cities
Target announced it was shutting down 24 stores around the Twin Cities amid unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community,” Target said Thursday. “At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores until further notice. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal.”

Protests at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, where people believe the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were stationed before being fired by the department, devolved into violence and looting on Wednesday. Among the places significantly damaged was the Target across the street from the precinct on Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue, CBS Minnesota reports.

9:04 AM
Governor Tim Walz apologizes after CNN reporter is arrested on air
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized Friday morning after a CNN reporter was arrested in Minneapolis while reporting live on air. Omar Jimenez was led away in handcuffs shortly after 6 a.m. by the Minnesota State Patrol.

Also arrested were producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez.

The crew was near the 3rd Precinct when state troopers and members of the National Guard began clearing the streets at daybreak, CBS Minnesota reports.

CNN said Walz spoke with the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, and apologized, taking full responsibility.

8:04 AM
National Guard: Mission is to protect life and the right to peaceful demonstration
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request on Thursday. The Guard tweeted minutes after the 3rd Precinct burned that it had activated more than 500 soldiers across the metro area.

“Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate,” it said. “A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.”

We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.

The Guard said in a follow-up tweet it was “here with the Minneapolis Fire Department” to assist. But no move was made to put out the 3rd Precinct fire.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said National Guard members were being stationed in locations to help stem looting, including banks, grocery stores and pharmacies. A couple dozen Guard members, armed with assault-style rifles, blocked a street Friday morning near a Target store that has sustained heavy damage by looters.

Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said fire crews could not safely respond to fires at the precinct station and some surrounding buildings.

7:51 AM
Minneapolis police arrest CNN crew on live television
Police arrested a CNN crew reporting on the unrest in Minneapolis while on live television. Footage from CNN morning program “New Day” shows CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez reporting early in the morning, then being approached by Minneapolis State Patrol.

A cameraperson who was arrested alongside Jimenez and his producer told CNN that police said they were being arrested for not moving to a new location after being directed to do so. Footage shows that Jimenez and the crew informed the officers they were reporters.

“We can move back to where you’d like here. We are live on the air at the moment,” Jimenez is heard saying to police officers approaching him in riot gear. “Wherever you’d want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”

Two police officers are shown grabbing Jimenez’s arms and informing him that he is under arrest.

CNN later reported that CNN president Jeff Zucker spoke to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who said he “deeply apologizes” for the arrest of Jimenez and his crew. Jimenez, who was released later in the morning, reported that there was “no animosity” from the officers and said they told him they were following orders.

7:46 AM
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey makes middle-of-the-night address
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed his city that was battling multiple fires as protests against the death of George Floyd descended into violence at a scale larger than either of the days that came before it.

“Brick and mortar is not as important as life,” Frey said after 1 a.m, CBS Minnesota reports. “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the significance of life.”

Frey said “we are going to be united as a city,” and told the press that he was the one who made the decision, ultimately, to have Minneapolis police officers withdraw from the 3rd Precinct building, citing the danger to both the officers inside the building as well as the public at large.

“There a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that, our entire city recognizes that. What we have seen over the past several hours and the past couple of nights in terms of looting is unacceptable,” Frey said. “These are businesses, these are community institutions that we need. These are banks that people rely on to get cash, grocery stores that people rely on to get food, pharmacies that people rely on to get medicine … and we need to make sure that they are protected.”

Frey added that the responsibility is also one the whole community shares.

“We additionally need our help from our community. We need to make sure people are looking out for our city right now. We all need to make sure we are standing up for our highest ideals,” Frey said.

Frey also addressed tweets that President Donald Trump posted earlier in the evening, in which he called Frey a “very weak Radical Left Mayor,” and said he would send the National Guard in to “get the job done right.”

“Weakness is pointing the finger at someone else during a time of crisis. Donald J. Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell, and you better be damn sure we’re going to get through this,” Frey responded.

7:42 AM
Police precinct torched in Minneapolis
Protesters took over the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct building late Thursday night. The breach occurred at about 10 p.m., with demonstrators setting fires inside the building and outside near the main entrance, CBS Minnesota reports.

Police released a statement just after 10 p.m., saying in part, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff. Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.”

CBS Minnesota reports the department had discussed withdrawing officers from the building as early as noon Thursday. Officers were also seen removing the American flag from the precinct’s pole at about 11:30 a.m.

Thousands of demonstrators gather near the Minneapolis Police third precinct during the third day of demonstrations in response to the death of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 28, 2020.

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