Minneapolis, Atlanta, D.C. and More Cities Erupt in Protests Across the U.S. Over George Floyd's Death
George Floyd was killed while in police custody on Monday
Outraged Americans are taking to the streets in cities across the United States over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
Protests over racial injustice and police brutality started earlier this week in Minneapolis when footage of Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, surfaced online.
While the Minneapolis police officer in the video — identified as Derek Chauvin — has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday, public dissent over racial inequality and police violence continues to spread in major cities across the nation.
Though Minneapolis remains the epicenter, there have been protests in at least 30 other U.S. cities, according to CNN. Here are some of the locations where protests in the wake of Floyd's death have occurred.
Though protests have been ongoing in Minneapolis since earlier this week, the city witnessed the burning of its largest police precinct on Thursday night when rioters set fire to the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct building. Police said in a statement, “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," according to WCCO.
Protests also took place in neighboring St. Paul, where authorities said more than 170 businesses have been "damaged or looted," and about a dozen fires have been set. The New York Times reported that lawmakers and employees were evacuated from the State Capitol as a precaution.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the demonstrations on Twitter, writing that the outrage is the "result of so much built up anger and sadness – anger and sadness that has become engrained in our Black community, not because of just five minutes of horror—but 400 years."
Frey also called for local residents to "hold our communities dear" and "do right by them" by "safeguarding them and the community assets they need."
It was announced on Saturday that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has ordered a "full mobilization" of the state's National Guard for the first time since World War II. He said during a briefing on Saturday that it was “nothing short of a blessing” that a bystander has not yet been killed amid the protests, according to The Washington Post.
"More than 1,000 additional Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are activating today," the Minnesota National Guard wrote on social media Saturday morning. "This is in addition to the 700 that were on duty as of late last night."
The Pentagon also put military police on alert to go to Minneapolis if needed, the Associated Press reports.
Violence erupted at a Denver Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday night when a driver was seen on camera intentionally ramming their vehicle into a protester, 9News, KPax and CBS Denver reported.
The horrifying incident was caught on camera by a passer-by in a nine-minute cell-phone clip shared on Twitter.
The video shows the crowd at the rally before turning to what appears to be a man hanging onto a car. After the man jumps off the front of the vehicle, the driver appears to swerve intentionally toward the man, who falls to the ground after being hit. He then gets up and walks away. He does not appear to be seriously injured, and the unknown driver flees the scene.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released a statement late Thursday night about the incident: “Tonight is a very sad night for our state. While we are still uncovering all of the facts about what took place, a protest regarding the killing of George Floyd devolved into vandalism and violence, and I was absolutely shocked by video evidence of a motorist attempting to run over a protestor.”
On Friday, the White House briefly went into lockdown as crowds gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest Floyd's killing. Several protesters were photographed kneeling outside the White House gates.
When reached by PEOPLE, a Secret Service spokesperson did not confirm that the White House had been placed under lockdown, but said that "personnel are currently assisting other law enforcement agencies during a demonstration in Lafayette Park."
Footage of protests in the area shared online saw huge crowds of people — many wearing masks and carrying signs — chanting the words "no justice, no peace." More videos shared by local reporters showed people tearing down police barricades and graffitiing buildings with "f— Trump."
The lockdown has since been lifted, according to CNN.
A peaceful protest in downtown Phoenix on Thursday night was declared an "unlawful assembly" by police after violence erupted from the crowd, NBC affiliate 12 News reported. Authorities said protesters tried to break into the Arizona State Capitol, damaged property and hurled rocks and bottles at officers, according to the outlet.
Around eight people were arrested in the protest, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in a press conference on Friday morning.
"Unfortunately, the actions of a small group of individuals changed that peaceful protest to one that was criminal," Williams said during the briefing. "We do respect all those who want to exercise their First Amendment Rights peacefully and we support that, but we cannot and will not tolerate criminal activity which endangers our community, our officers, and other demonstrators."
Protests of varying degrees over Floyd's death began earlier this week in the West Coast state.
Though dozens of people marched in peaceful rallies around the Los Angeles area, the city of Fontana, California, experienced some violence on Thursday night when a car drove through a crowd, according to ABC 7. The outlet also reported that several windows at Fontana City Hall were broken in the protest.
On Friday evening, protesters marched onto Highway 101 in San Jose and caused the freeway to shut down in both directions, KPIX reported. Around 9 p.m., the driver of an SUV drove into a crowd of protestors in San Jose and appeared to injure two people. As the car drove away, what sounds like a gunshot fires and people scream, according to video footage of the incident.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department later said that a deputy was involved in a shooting at around the same time in the area, which is under investigation.
"We’re angry as well, and we’ve made that clear," San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia wrote on Twitter. "We’ve allowed peaceful protest. But we will not tolerate lawlessness."
In Oakland, a contract security officer for the Federal Protective Service was killed and another wounded by gunshots during protests at the downtown federal building Friday night, USA Today reported. The FBI is investigating the incident but could not say whether the shooting was related to protests because the investigation was ongoing, public affairs officer Katherine Zackel told the outlet.
In Brooklyn, protesters and police clashed just outside the Barclays Center.
While protesters threw bottles of water and, in one instance, what appeared to be a bottle of paint at officers, authorities in turn tried to hold a barricade line, CNN reported.
Protesters vandalized the windows and doors of the 88th Precinct in Clinton Hill and police cars were set ablaze, according to ABC7, which also reported that dozens of police officers were injured and there had been at least 200 arrests.
Just before 11 p.m., New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the protests in Brooklyn via Twitter.
"We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn," he wrote. "Our sole focus is de-escalating 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."
Nearly 300 people were arrested in New York following the demonstrations on Thursday and Friday, NBC reports. Protests continued in all five boroughs of the city Saturday, with thousands taking to the streets.
In one Saturday afternoon rally in Staten Island, hundreds joined the Rev. Al Sharpton as he led them to the site where Eric Garner died after being placed in an NYPD police officer's chokehold in 2014.
Protesters in Atlanta converged on the CNN Center, which was the scene of a violent exchange between demonstrators and police, CNN reported.
The CNN logo was vandalized, and the building suffered damage both inside and outside, including smashed windows.
At one point, the SWAT team was called as the demonstrators' numbers swelled.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms decried the protests at a news conference Friday.
"What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos," she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution. "A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn't do this to our city," she said. "If you want change in America, go and register to vote. ... That is the change we need in this country."
Just after midnight, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, and called on the national guard to deploy up to 500 guardsmen to the area. He wrote on Twitter that the decision was made at the request of Lance Bottoms.
In Houston, where George Floyd was born and raised, protests on Friday ended in nearly 200 arrests after protestors flooded the cities roadways. Most of the arrested protestors will be charged with obstructing a roadway, police said on Twitter.
Police officers were also injured during the protests and some were hospitalized, according to a Tweet from Houston Police Officers' Union president Joe Gamaldi.
"Let me just say, as the mayor of this city, people have a right to demonstrate, and they have a right to protest," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a press conference. "What I would ask, is for people in Houston to demonstrate decency as they stand up to voice their rhetoric."
Protests also erupted in Dallas, where Mayor Eric Johnson asked residents of the city to remain peaceful and stop destroying property. "I understand the outrage, and I feel this pain deeply," Johnson said on Twitter. "What happened in Minneapolis is unacceptable. But please, remain peaceful."
As the protests continued later in the night, he added, "The protesters in Dallas tonight have largely been peaceful and respectful. I fully support their calls for justice. But we have a small handful of people who apparently have other agendas and have been destroying and stealing property. We can’t have that. It honors no one."
About 1,500 people protested in Detroit Friday. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said nine people had been arrested during in a Facebook Live at 10:22 p.m, the Detroit Free Press reports. He added that officers had been attacked and a command officer was struck with a rock and taken to the hospital.
“I will not stand by and let a small minority, criminals, come in here, attack our officers and make our community unsafe,” he said.
A 21-year-old in Detroit was shot and killed during the protests Friday night, though police have not confirmed whether the victim was part of the protests
He was shot around 11:30 p.m. when a man approached a silver Dodge Caliber, occupied by the victim and two other men, and fired shots into the vehicle, police said in a Saturday statement, according to CBS News.
All three men fled, but the suspect continued to fire shots and killed the 21-year-old, who was driving the car. The victim, from Eastpointe, Michigan, was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Thousands of protesters returned to Chicago's downtown area Saturday after Friday's protests went well into the night.
“We’re going to give people space to express themselves,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Saturday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s what we do in Chicago, but we won’t tolerate lawlessness.
She continued, “If you think about what happened yesterday, the vast majority of people that were out there were doing exactly what we would expect: expressing themselves passionately, but doing so peacefully. And that’s our expectation for today, tomorrow and whenever this continues, that the vast majority of people that are out there are going to do so in a way that is constructive and productive and passionate — but peaceful.”
Police Superintendent David Brown said the protests in Chicago were mostly peaceful, but "ended a little bit more aggressive and intense," the Sun-Times reports. After Friday night, 108 protesters were arrested.
In addition to the George Floyd protests in Kentucky, the city of Louisville has seen demonstrations seeking justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home.
While covering Friday's protest in Louisville, camera crews filmed a police officer appearing to hit a television reporter with pepper balls, for which police later apologized.
In a video of the live broadcast, WAVE-TV reporter Kaitlin Rust can be heard screaming off-camera, and saying, “I’ve been shot,” as an officer is filmed standing in front of the cameras, aiming towards them.
The reporter goes on to clarify that they were not shot with actual bullets, but with what she believed at the time to be either rubber bullets or pepper balls. (A police spokesman has said that they do not use rubber bullets.)
The day prior, on Thursday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that seven people had been shot, but that “no officers fired their weapons.”
“I feel the community’s frustration, the anger, the fear, but tonight’s violence and destruction is not the way to solve it,” he continued. “I urge protests again, as Breonna’s family said tonight, to say her name, but let’s not see anyone else get hurt.”
In an attempt to avoid further violence, Fisher announced there would be a dusk-till-dawn curfew on Saturday and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has called in National Guard.