Two Officers Killed as Angry George Floyd Protests Continue

Published May 31st, 2020 - 05:37 GMT
A banner depicting George Floyd is hanged to a street light during a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (DELIL SOULEIMAN / AFP)
A banner depicting George Floyd is hanged to a street light during a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (DELIL SOULEIMAN / AFP)
Violent protests demanding justice for George Floyd spread across US last night including to Detroit

Two Federal Protective Service officers were shot - one fatally - during Friday night protests in Oakland, California, as violent protests across the US intensified over the killing of George Floyd.

At least 7,500 demonstrators took to the streets in Oakland last night, clashing with police and sparking arson attacks and vandalism across the city. During the squirmish, two officers with the Federal Protective Service - a part of Homeland Securitycreated to protect government facilities - were shot. Police are investigating.

'Two Federal Protective Services officers stationed at the Oakland Downtown Federal Building suffered gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, one succumbed to his injury,' the police department told CNN.    

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old protester was shot dead in Detroit last night, while soldiers in North Carolina and in New York were ordered to be ready to move in within four hours and troops in Colorado and Kansas within 24 hours.

Police said the man was killed after shots were fired at a crowd of people near Detroit's Greektown entertainment district last night with dozens of protesters out on the streets, but officers were not involved in the shooting.

The suspect pulled up to the crowd in a Dodge Durango and fired shots at around 11.30pm, and the man was pronounced dead in hospital. No details about who fired the shots were immediately available, police said.

Crowds took to the streets in the city after former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder over the death of Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed and pleaded for air as an officer pressed his knee on his neck.

Over in Minneapolis, protesters have been running rampant for the past three nights in a show of outrage that has seen a suspected looter shot dead in the street, a Minneapolis police precinct stormed and set alight, and the city up in flames as businesses and stores were looted and torched.  

Amid fears that the chaos was entering a fourth night, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an emergency order mandating that residents stay home from the hours of 8pm to 6am and giving cops the power to arrest anyone who refused to comply.

Mr Walz said it was an 'incredibly dangerous, fluid and dynamic' situation, adding that he can 'fully understand the rage' but urged for calm on the streets. 

The state order came after the twin cities imposed curfews starting at 8p.m. Friday in efforts to bring the rioting and destruction under control. 

In Detroit last night, officers - many in riot gear - confronted the protesters in the Michigan city and formed lines across streets. Dozens of arrests were made and police said many were not Detroit residents.

By midnight, the crowd had thinned considerably as police shot canisters of gas toward the protesters. The demonstration began earlier in the day and was peaceful as protesters marched by Detroit Police Headquarters.

'We know that the individuals from outside the city of Detroit who converged at the protest location don't represent this city,' Police Chief James Craig said. The number of arrests and injuries is not yet available.

The move to put the Army on a short-term notice comes after President Donald Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options in tackling the escalating civil unrest spreading across America, according to sources.

Overnight, Trump also commented on a tweet by Former Democrats for Trump about how Minneapolis was ruled by Democrats, saying: 'Time for a change! #2020', which was retweeted more than 25,000 times.

It comes as violent protests demanding justice for Floyd spread across the US last night, with the CNN headquarters under siege in Atlanta, New York police officers fending off rioters from a police precinct in Brooklyn and the White House forced to go into lockdown as demonstrators tried to scale the walls.

Looting and fires broke out again in Minneapolis as protesters defied the state curfew and the National Guard failed to keep the city under control.

The protests have now reached all corners of America with break-off demonstrations springing up across states including New York, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia as the arrest of the white cop who knelt on Floyd's neck has done little to quell the anger over the black man's death.  

Chaos exploded in Atlanta as demonstrators stormed and destroyed the CNN headquarters and fired a smoke bomb at cops trying to form a barrier to keep them out. 

In New York City, shocking footage showed an NYPD officer hurling a female protester to the ground in Brooklyn, while officers defended a police precinct amid fears it would be torched.

The White House was forced to go into temporary lockdown as protesters tried to scale the walls, battled with Secret Service agents and burned American flags outside the executive residence.  

As unrest spread across dozens of American cities Friday, Trump gave the bold order to ready the Army for deployment to Minneapolis.  

The get-ready orders were sent verbally Friday, after Trump asked Esper to come up with rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to a senior Pentagon official who was on the call.

The last time the White House invoked these powers was in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.

The National Guard was activated in Georgia late Friday night with as many as 500 troops deployed to Atlanta and a state of emergency issued after rioters destroyed the CNN HQ and looted a luxury shopping mall. 

The CNN headquarters bore much of the brunt of the outrage as demonstrators vandalized the media firm's logo, scrawled profanities on the building and smashed up its windows.

A standoff between cops and protesters escalated into the night as dozens of cops in riot gear formed a barricade inside the doors while protesters hurled objects at the building. 

A smoke bomb was thrown at police at one point and at least one officer was injured after they were struck by a missile of some sort. 

This came just hours after black CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested live on air Friday morning by Minnesota State Patrol while covering the Minneapolis protests.   

Jimenez was put in handcuffs and led away from his team of producers this morning at 5.11am CT after the team was moved down the street by police in riot gear. 

According to one of his colleagues, the crew was told he was being arrested for refusing to move when he'd been told to but he was heard live on air telling officers he was with CNN.  

The Atlanta protest began peacefully before it descended into chaos when some demonstrators hurled bricks, bottles and milk cartons at police cruisers.   

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms slammed their actions at a press conference Friday, saying: 'If you care about this city then go home.' 

A luxury shopping mall was also targeted by looters late into the night when some moved on from downtown Atlanta and headed north to Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead. 

Governor Brian Kemp activated the National Guard to the state capital late Friday as the rioting escalated. 

In New York, the NYPD clashed fiercely with protesters Friday night as thousands of cops took to the streets and hundreds of protesters descended on the 88th precinct in Brooklyn. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled across the city to the protest as he tweeted saying there would be a 'full review' of the night's events after footage emerged on social media of cops being violent towards protesters. 

'We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn. Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don't ever want to see another night like this,' de Blasio tweeted.  

Outside the Barclays Center stadium in Brooklyn, a peaceful protest turned violent when NYPD officers sprayed mace into the crowds while demonstrators set fire to banners and pushed to break through metal barricades. 

The crowds moved toward the 88th precinct with officers forced to defend the station for fear of similar scenes to those seen at the precinct in Minneapolis Thursday - where cops were forced to flee when protesters stormed the building, set it alight and cut off the gas lines.    

Shocking footage showed an officer throwing a woman the ground. The video was posted on social media of the cop appearing to walk to the woman and throw her violently to the floor.

It was reported that the woman had to seek medical attention following the incident. 

An MTA bus driver refused to drive protesters away from the scene after police officers commandeered the vehicle and started placing arrested New Yorkers on it. 

This came after violent clashes broke out in Union Square in Manhattan between cops and protesters during the day.  

Shocking footage shows one officer beating a protester to the point that he breaks his baton on the man as other cops try to apprehend people in the crowded Manhattan area. 

Another clip shows officers pushing people to the ground as protesters try to help others from the grasps of the authorities. Some police can be heard telling others to back up.  

The lockdown was lifted around 8:30p.m. and as of 11p.m. Trump was yet to break his silence on the matter on Twitter. 

In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey announced a nighttime curfew barring anyone other than essential workers and public safety personnel from being in public places across the city from 8p.m. through to 6 a.m. local time and lasting for the weekend. 

This was quickly followed by the neighboring cities of Roseville and St. Paul which declared their own emergency orders and curfews.

But this failed to keep Minneapolis under control with protesters defying the curfew and convenience stores looted.

With law enforcement nowhere to be seen, around 350 troops were finally sent in after midnight - hours after chaos ensued once again despite both the city and state insisting that the response would be ramped up Friday.

The Minneapolis Department of Public Safety said 350 troopers had been deployed to the city's 5th precinct to disperse protesters and enforce the curfew late Friday. 

This came after Walz on Friday admitted an 'abject failure' by law enforcement in trying to control crowds Thursday night.  

On Thursday, as tensions in the city boiled all day, the National Guard started putting in motion plans to intervene to help local law enforcement agencies that were struggling to cope with the mounting threat.  

Meanwhile, in Sin City, hundreds of protesters took over parts of the Las Vegas Strip Friday night with police confirming several arrests had been made. 

Demonstrators and police officers were seen in a standoff at multiple intersections of the strip where casinos continue to stay shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Protests escalated in Louisville, Kentucky, as protesters demanding justice for black woman Breonna Taylor resurfaced with renewed anger over Floyd's death.

Taylor was shot dead by cops in the state back in March. 

The EMT was hit by bullets at least eight times when three cops stormed her apartment to serve a search warrant over a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found in the home. 

The Hall of Justice was targeted with an attempted fire while graffiti and flag-burning was widespread across the city. 

Louisville Metro Police Department was forced to apologize to a reporter after a cop shot them with a pepper ball launcher live on air. 

Pictures showed groups of people huddling on the ground as pepper balls rained down on them.  

Louisville Metro Police Department said a significantly larger number of people had come out to protest Friday compared to Thursday many armed with sticks, bats, and guns.

This came after seven people were shot after gunfire rung out in downtown Louisville Thursday night.   

In Houston, where Floyd grew up before he moved to Minneapolis for a new start in life, huge protests also erupted.

The demonstration, which was organized by Black Lives Matter, saw thousands of protesters process up Main Street to City Hall shouting 'can't breathe' and 'enough is enough'.

The initially peaceful protest took a violent turn two hours in after a man attempted to punch organizer Ashton Woods as he made a speech.

Although the scuffle was swiftly broken up by police, some demonstrators moved away from the main protest and attempted to rush and occupy the I-45 freeway.

Others in the throng chanted: 'Justice for George', 'Black Lives Matter' and 'We want change'. 

According to the group's Facebook page, at least 1,800 people turned out, although there appeared to be far more. 

One protester described the death of Floyd, who lived in Houston most of his life, as a 'modern day lynching'.

Rebecca Bozeman told 'Enough is enough. The people have to come out and do their part or nothing will change.

'It's been 400 years and it's still happening. We saw a modern-day lynching. It should not be happening.'

Her friend Sylvia Clinton added: 'Call it what it is. He was lynched. It was a modern-day lynching.'   

Clinton told the news today that white cop Derek Chauvin - who knelt on Floyd's neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died -  being charged with murder is not enough, as calls mount for the arrest of the other three officers involved: J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Clinton said: 'It's not enough. It's not enough for me that one of the officers has been arrested. I feel they should get the remaining three accomplices.

'Call it what it is – an accomplice is someone in conjunction with a crime and I feel like that's what the three remaining officers are and it will not be justice until we see them arrested, prosecuted and found guilty.'

Another protester said police officers who commit crimes should face the same 'due process' as regular citizens.

He said: 'I don't feel that's enough [for Chauvin to be arrested]. All four of them need to be arrested and all four of them need to be held accountable as we would be if we broke the law.

Omar added: 'I believe it starts at the top with legislation.

'They need to start training officers in a certain way, to be more respectful of human life because everyone around here deserves a fair trial.'They're not the judge or the jury. When we do a crime, we go through due process – they need to do that too.'

Both Bozeman and Clinton said they live in fear of a similar fate to Floyd's being visited on the men in their families.

Bozeman said: 'We have a lot of black men in our lives: my father, my brother, her son. They're all a part of our lives.

'So when we saw George lying there like that, that could have been any one of them, any one on a daily basis.

'The fact it has taken days just to arrest one officer, that's not right. Even then, to not be sure he will be convicted of something like that…

'We should be sure. And for this to be going on for hundreds of years, at this point, enough is enough.'

Clinton added: 'It's a true worry. It's not anything to be played with. It's very valid and the fear is real. Very real.' 

Protests also erupted in Charlotte with police officers throwing tear gas into the crowds and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department deploying its Civil Emergency Unit and issuing a dispersal order.   

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter Friday over the death of Floyd, four days after he was seen kneeling on his neck in a video of his arrest that has sparked violent protests across the country.

The 44-year-old white cop was arrested by state investigators Friday afternoon, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, as the criminal complaint revealed he kept kneeling on the black man's neck for almost 3 minutes after he fell unconscious and said 'you're talking fine' when he begged for air. 

Chauvin was one of four officers fired over Floyd's death earlier this week yet the other three officers continue to walk free.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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