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Illustration by Security Management

Minneapolis Protests Turn Violent Over George Floyd Death

The video of George Floyd’s death reignited outrage over police brutality, especially against unarmed black men. This time, Minneapolis plays host to protests that have turned violent.

On 25 May, Floyd died while in police custody. A bystander’s video showed that while four Minneapolis police officers detained Floyd in response to a call from a market about a counterfeit bill, one of the officers pinned Floyd down by keeping a knee on his neck. On the ground and handcuffed, Floyd can be heard telling the officers that he cannot breathe. Although Floyd was officially pronounced dead when he arrived at a city hospital, local EMTs told the Star Tribune that he was unresponsive and had no pulse by the time they arrived at the scene.

The four police officers on the scene while Floyd died were fired 26 May. The city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, called for the prosecution of one officer involved, and the Minneapolis police chief has asked the FBI to investigate the incident. The U.S. Department of Justice said the investigation into Floyd’s death is being treated as a “top priority.”

Protests in response to Floyd's death began on 26 May in Minneapolis, with hundreds of people—many of them wearing masks but unable to socially distance—waving signs in the same spot where Floyd was detained and died. Although the city is under a safer-at-home order in response to the COVD-19 pandemic, city officials did not try to stop protesters.

 The protests escalated on the evening of 27 May, according to The New York Timeswith stores looted and set on fire, tear gas and rubber bullets fired, and an apartment development still under construction burned down. Floyd’s death also triggered protests in Memphis and Los Angeles.

Some institutions have begun distancing themselves from the city’s police department, including the University of Minnesota, ESPN reports. On 27 May, University President Joan Gabel wrote in a letter to the school’s community that it would no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for additional law enforcement support during major events, such as football games and concerts. Gabel also explained that the university would not use the department's specialized services at university events, such as K-9 explosive detection units.

On the “Today” show, Stephen Jackson, former NBA player and friend of Floyd, said the protests were not how Floyd would want to be remembered. “He wasn’t the type of people to hurt innocent people,” Jackson said. Instead, Floyd would want everyone unified in a fight for justice.