Anger and grief over the death of George Floyd erupted Wednesday night in a violent protest outside the third precinct headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department, while more peaceful demonstrations took place elsewhere in Minneapolis and in Oakdale.
One man was shot to death in the area of the Minneapolis protests, and a suspect was in custody.
It was the second night of clashes between protesters and law enforcement following Floyd’s death Monday evening, shortly after being pinned to the ground beneath the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin until he lost consciousness. In a viral video that captured much of the incident, a handcuffed Floyd lying prone on the ground can be heard telling Chauvin that he can’t breathe.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident were fired by the department on Tuesday.
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Demonstrators at the third precinct Wednesday afternoon and evening hurled rocks and bottles at the building and officers assembled outside, while the officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and less-lethal projectiles at the crowd.
Later in the night, the situation escalated with the looting and burning of several nearby businesses.
By midnight, most of the stores and restaurants for blocks around the third precinct were looted, including the Minnehaha Center strip mall, which comprises Target, Cub Foods, Dollar Tree and other businesses. Through broken windows, burglar alarms blared vainly into the night.
Some businesses marked with spray-painted “Minority Owned” signs were spared.
About 200 protesters remained outside the third precinct where they faced down a wall of officers in riot gear, chanting and shouting epithets at the police.
Across the street, looters were carrying out armloads of beer, wine and spirits from Minnehaha Liquors, in full view of the police. On the other side of Lake Street, thick black smoke billowed out of the Auto Zone store, which apparently had been left to burn.
Across the street from Minnehaha Center, what began as a small fire in a six-story building under construction had fully engulfed the structure by 2 a.m., causing the building to collapse into itself. The heat from the fire could be felt more than 100 yards away and was sufficient to warp the tower of a construction crane. The fire then jumped to nearby buildings.
ONE DEAD, ONE IN CUSTODY
About 9:25 p.m., officers responding to a report of a stabbing found a man lying on the sidewalk in grave condition at Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street, about a mile west of the third precinct. The officers rendered first aid and paramedics took the wounded man to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said. His injury was later determined to be a gunshot wound. Police have one person in custody in connection with the homicide.
Elder did not directly link the incident to the protests and said the shooting was under investigation. He said there had been no other reports of serious injuries to officers or protesters.
“Tonight was a different night of protesting than it was the night before,” Elder said, noting the “widespread civil disobedience” in the area around the third precinct.
“It’s sad,” he added.
There were three arrests for burglary and looting Tuesday, Elder said. He was not aware of any arrests yet late Wednesday.
About 40 St. Paul police officers were dispatched to support the Minneapolis Fire Department as they put out fires and to “work to keep people and property safe” at the protest in South Minneapolis, according to Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.
In addition to St. Paul police, Minneapolis officers were assisted by Metro Transit police and Minnesota State Patrol troopers.
Less than two miles away, a more subdued vigil at the site of Floyd’s death at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue continued for a third day. Police said the Tuesday night rally at that location drew about 8,000 protesters. The demonstrators marched from there to the third precinct headquarters.
Meanwhile, a rally outside the Oakdale home of Derek Chauvin also drew nearly 200 protesters from across the Twin Cities. An officer told protesters that Chauvin was not there, and no one answered when an Associated Press reporter knocked on the door.
Red cans of paint were earlier spilled on his driveway, and someone wrote “A murderer lives here” in chalk at the end of his driveway.
Among the protesters in Oakdale was 25-year-old Delyla Doshie of St. Paul, who said Chauvin must be arrested and prosecuted for murder in Floyd’s death.
“We want justice,” Doshie said. “People have been arrested for less. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in jail right now.”
The protesters faced off against a line of helmeted officers from the Washington County Mobile Field Force, who prevented the protesters from moving deeper into the neighborhood.The demonstration remained peaceful as of 9 p.m.
“We understand we’re in a residential neighborhood,” Doshie said. “We just want people to know who lives here.”
In Minneapolis, news helicopter footage showed protesters milling in streets near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, with some running in and out of nearby stores. A Target, a Cub Foods, a Dollar Tree and an auto parts store all showed signs of damage and looting. As darkness fell, fire erupted in the auto parts store, and city fire crews rushed to control it. Protesters set other fires in the street.
Officers could be seen surrounding the nearby precinct, not attempting to intervene in the looting. Earlier, some protesters skirmished with officers, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas in a repeat of Tuesday night’s confrontation.
As the protests stretched into the evening, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo urged calm. In an interview with KMSP-TV, he noted the internal investigation as well as the FBI’s investigation of Floyd’s death and said they offer a chance at justice.
“Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we’re seeing tonight, whether it’s the looting, the damage to property or other things,” he said.
In California, hundreds of people protesting Floyd’s death blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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