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Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest

Cheering protesters torched a Minneapolis police station that the department abandoned as three days of violent protests spread to nearby St. Paul and angry demonstrations flared across the U.S over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.

AP AP
Washington Published on: May 29, 2020 18:50 IST
Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest
Image Source : AP

Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest

Cheering protesters torched a Minneapolis police station that the department abandoned as three days of violent protests spread to nearby St. Paul and angry demonstrations flared across the U.S over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.

A police spokesman confirmed late Thursday that staff had evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, "in the interest of the safety of our personnel" shortly after 10 p.m. Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set. 

Protesters could be seen setting fire to a Minneapolis Police Department jacket.

Late Thursday, President Donald Trump blasted the "total lack of leadership" in Minneapolis. "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts," he said on Twitter. Trump, who called protesters in Minneapolis "thugs," drew another warning from Twitter for his rhetoric, saying it violated the platform's rules about "glorifying violence."

A visibly tired and frustrated Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made his first public appearance of the night at City Hall near 2 a.m. Friday and took responsibility for evacuating the precinct, saying it had become too dangerous for officers there. As Frey continued, a reporter cut across loudly with a question: "What's the plan here?"

"With regard to?" Frey responded. Then he added: "There is a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that ... What we have seen over the past several hours and past couple of nights here in terms of looting is unacceptable."

He defended the city's lack of engagement with looters — only a handful of arrests across the first two nights of violence — and said, "We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace." He said National Guard members were being stationed in locations to help stem looting, including banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.

On Friday morning, the Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN television crew as they reported on the unrest in Minneapolis. While live on air, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was handcuffed and led away. A producer and a photojournalist for CNN were also led away in handcuffs.

The Minnesota State Patrol said the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were "clearing the streets and restoring order," and they were released after being confirmed to be media members. CNN said on Twitter that the arrests were "a clear violation of their First Amendment rights."

Atlanta-based CNN said that the crew, which included CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, was released later Friday morning.

While live on air, Jimenez was handcuffed and led away. A producer and a photojournalist for CNN were also led away in handcuffs.

CNN's communications team earlier said on Twitter that the crew was arrested "for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights."

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