Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz early Saturday urged protesters to go home after they took to the streets of Minneapolis for a fourth day and defied an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by the city’s mayor Jacob Frey following the death of an unarmed black man.
“This is not about George’s death. This is not about inequities that are real. This is about chaos being caused,” Walz said.
Graphic video footage taken by an onlooker’s cell phone and widely circulated on the internet showed 46-year-old George Floyd — with police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed into his neck — gasping for air and repeatedly groaning, “Please, I can’t breathe,” while a crowd of bystanders shouted at police to let him up.
After several minutes, Floyd gradually grew unresponsive and ceased to move. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.
Chauvin, who was dismissed from the police department with three fellow officers the day after the fatal encounter, was arrested on Friday on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges for his role in Monday’s death of Floyd.
WATCH | New angle of George Floyd arrest:
The video re-ignited an outpouring of rage that civil rights activists said has long simmered in Minneapolis and cities across the country over persistent racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.
The charges brought by Hennepin County prosecutors came after a third night of arson, looting, and vandalism in which protesters set fire to a police station, and the National Guard was deployed to help restore order in Minnesota’s largest city.
Frey declared a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time on Friday and Saturday. The order says no one can be out in public except emergency responders and people seeking medical care, fleeing danger or those who are homeless.
Authorities had hoped Chauvin’s arrest would allay public anger and avert continued unrest. But defying the curfew imposed, about 500 demonstrators clashed anew Friday evening with riot police outside a battered Third Precinct building.
Anger over the killing has spread from Minneapolis to other large cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Ga., New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Portland.
In Atlanta, protesters set a police car on fire, struck officers with bottles, vandalized the headquarters of CNN and broke into a restaurant in downtown Atlanta as a demonstration that started peacefully quickly changed tone Friday evening.
WATCH | Protesters attack CNN Atlanta headquarters:
In Detroit, a 19-year-old man was killed late Friday when a person opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators. The shooter fled the scene in a vehicle.
As protests raged across the U.S., there have been images and reports emerging on social media showing physical confrontations between demonstrators and police.
In one video from New York, Dounya Zayer, 20, is shown being thrown to the ground by an officer as police advanced on crowds of protesters in the streets of Brooklyn. Speaking afterward from the hospital, Zayer said the violent takedown was unprovoked.
Stop making excuses for the police. They are supposed to be protecting us. Not hurting us. <a href=”https://t.co/SoYtWMxIMh”>pic.twitter.com/SoYtWMxIMh</a>
Police initially said they arrested Floyd because he matched the description of a man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store and that he resisted arrest.
Police were trying to put Floyd in a squad car when he stiffened up and fell to the ground, saying he was claustrophobic, according to the criminal complaint detailing charges against Chauvin.
In addition to igniting the turmoil in Minneapolis, Floyd’s death has garnered national attention, and it drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and also said he could not breathe.
This video was shared with me by a demonstrator who was near the White House this afternoon. <a href=”https://t.co/js67Wy0SbJ”>pic.twitter.com/js67Wy0SbJ</a>
The delay in Chauvin’s arrest may have helped to drive the protests. The other three officers involved have not been charged, but the investigation is continuing. All four were fired Tuesday shortly after the video began circulating.
Some activists and community leaders said they expected the protests to continue to push for the arrests of and charges for the three other officers.
Floyd’s death “just touched people in a way that they didn’t expect,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and former president of the Minneapolis NAACP.
CNN reporter arrested on live TV
During the protests, the Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN journalist reporting live on television early Friday morning without giving any reason, leading him and others from his crew away in handcuffs.
Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen police officers surrounded him.
“We can move back to where you like,” he told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields, before explaining that he and his crew were members of the press. “We’re getting out of your way.”
WATCH l Omar Jimenez arrested while doing live hit:
CNN called it a clear violation of their First Amendment rights and called for the release of its three employees, which eventually occurred.
“What gave me one bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV,” Jimenez told viewers after he was released. “You don’t have to doubt my story. It’s not filtered in any way. You saw it with your own eyes.”
In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, 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.