Groups of people from coast to coast protest police brutality after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.
MINNEAPOLIS — Across the country, protesters took to the streets for a fourth day to express their anger over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee pressed into his neck for more than eight minutes.
In scenes both peaceful and violent, thousands of protesters chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Say his name. George Floyd.” They hoisted signs reading: “He said I can’t breathe. Justice for George.”
Former police officer Derek Michael Chauvin was arrested Friday in Minneapolis on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
Saturday morning, after 72 hours of unrest in Minneapolis, Gov. Tim Walz described the protest scenes as a “military operation.”
“This is not about George’s death. This is not about inequities that were real. This is about chaos being caused,” Walz said.
Fires, looting and destruction were not isolated to Minneapolis. In Detroit, one person attending a protest was shot to death. Atlanta saw the CNN Center attacked and its mayor pleaded for calm.
Stay up-to-date on the George Floyd story by signing up for USA TODAY’s Daily Briefing. Here are the latest developments:
- By Sunday, 1,700 National Guard troops will be in the Twin Cities and officials said they welcomed the help from the Pentagon, which they said independently asked military police to be ready to head to Minnesota.
- Sekula Law Offices issued a statement late Friday saying Chauvin’s wife, Kellie, has filed for divorce.
- As anger spilled across the U.S. over Floyd’s death, a second night of Breonna Taylor protests was marked by vandalism in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. She was shot and killed by police while sleeping in her home in March.
- President Donald Trump said Friday he spoke with Floyd’s family and asserted that his relatives are “entitled to justice” in the case.
Read this: Experts say knee-to-neck restraint is dangerous, but Minneapolis allows it.
‘A riot is the language of the unheard’: MLK’s powerful quote resonates amid George Floyd protests
Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. Scroll down for the latest. Follow USA TODAY reporters Trevor Hughes and Tyler Davis for reports from the scene.
Morning in Minneapolis: Firefighters put out blazes, clear rubble
Morning dawned bright in Minneapolis, the sun highlighting the columns of smoke dotting the horizon and burned-out cars scattered at intersections as the smell of burning rubber and plastic filled the air.
Authorities had moved back into some formerly contested areas, and on Saturday morning, firefighters with the Minneapolis Fire Department poured water onto a still-smoldering gas station in the Hiawatha area as a small crowd watched. No police were present.
Over on Lake Street at Columbus Avenue, members of the Minnesota National Guard controlled access to the streets, their Humvees and trucks blocking the road as firefighters and public works officials tried to shut off leaking gas lines and clear rubble from the road.
Because some areas lost power, drivers collided yesterday when speeding through stoplights that weren’t working, and their abandoned crashed cars were then set ablaze. Broken glass from shattered windows and bus stops crunched underfoot.
“This is sad. It’s very emotional right now. I just had to come down and see it,” said Brian Ledin, 58, who lives in a nearby suburb but was born in the area, as smoke rose from an O’Reilly Auto Parts store and CenterPoint energy workers searched for broken gas lines.
Wearing face masks, Anton Reuter and Beno Boda, both 17, picked up trash strewn in the street.
The two, who live nearby, said they had heard reports that troublemakers from outside downtown Minneapolis have been flooding into the area last night causing damage. They wanted people to know that those who live here care about this neighborhood.
“It’s not going to get better waiting on the government,” Boda said.
Further east along Lake, a looted Walgreens billowed smoke into the air around 7:30 a.m. as bystanders recorded on their phones. Anxious residents grabbed a garden hose and buckets to wet down the sides and roofs of adjacent homes, desperately hoping to protect them from the burning embers lofted into the air.
“The people who live here knew things were going to be bad last night so they went to a hotel. We’re just trying to protect their house,” said neighbor Deb McKinley, 54, as smoke filled the sky above and water dribbled from a garden hose clutched in her dirty hands.
Firefighters and a Minneapolis police officer arrived shortly before 8 a.m., quickly dousing the flames burning behind cinder-block walls spray painted with graffiti calling for authorities to be sexually assaulted.
Car rams into protesters in San Jose; demonstrators on Bay Bridge
In San Jose, California, the driver of an SUV drove into a protesting crowd, captured on video by a KPIX-TV reporter. As the car drives away, what sounds like a shot fires, and people can be heard screaming and appear to run to the aid of someone on the ground.
A Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department deputy was involved in a shooting in the area around the same time, the department later said on Twitter. But it was not immediately clear if it was the same incident.
The San Jose Police Department was investigating.
“We’re angry as well, and we’ve made that clear. We’ve allowed peaceful protest. But we will not tolerate lawlessness,” San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said on Twitter.
In nearby San Francisco, protesters shut down the upper deck on the Bay Bridge, halting traffic.
Atlanta mayor pleads for peace amid protests
Peaceful protests turned violent in Atlanta on Friday night, with some demonstrators damaging police cars, vandalizing CNN’s headquarters and clashing with police, prompting an impassioned rebuke from the city’s mayor.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had a stern message for violent protesters during a televised press conference: “You are disgracing our city; you are disgracing the life of George Floyd … We are better than this.”
As the demonstrations intensified, Bottoms feared the destruction would hurt minority business owners. “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” she said. “If you care about this city, then go home.” Read more.
– Joel Shannon
Trump thanks Secret Service during White House lockdown
President Trump thanked the Secret Service in a tweet early Saturday after the White House locked down due to protests Friday night.
Outside the White House on Friday, Secret Service could be seen after 7 p.m. taking at least one person into custody. Videos showed a large group of protesters gathering, with some burning flags and knocking over barricades.
Multiple reporters posted that they were inside the White House and that the Secret Service was not letting them leave the grounds during the lockdown.
The Secret Service frequently locks down the White House for perceived security threats, such as packages or bags left nearby. But the building is rarely locked down for protests. And while protests are a daily occurrence outside the White House, they are often small – drawing a few dozen people, at most. Read more.
– Savannah Behrmann
Coast-to-coast protests rage on
Protesters in Minneapolis largely ignored the city’s newly-instituted 8 p.m. curfew and continued marching through the streets, in some cases damaging buildings.
In Detroit, a 19-year-old man was killed late Friday night after shots were fired into a crowd of protesters by an unknown suspect in a gray Dodge Durango.
Elsewhere, protests in Iowa, Indianapolis, and Louisville, Kentucky, also turned violent. Protests included heavy police presence in Los Angeles and New York City. Read more.
– Joel Shannon
National guard in Minnesota, Georgia
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a Tweet on Friday night that the state would activate 500 soldiers with the National Guard.
Another 500 Guard soldiers were mobilized in and around Minneapolis. But at a 1:30 a.m. news briefing Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said that he was moving to activate more than 1,000 more and was considering federal help.
The Guard was also on standby in the District of Columbia, where a crowd grew outside the White House and chanted curses at President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press .
Report: Military police could dispatch to Minnesota
The Pentagon on Saturday ordered the Army to put military police units on alert to head to Minneapolis on short notice at President Donald Trump’s request, the Associated Press reports, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders who did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.
According to the AP report, soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called. Soldiers in Fort Carson in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours.
Mayor Bill de Blasio vows review of violence in NYC
Video posted to social media showed New York City officers using batons and shoving protesters down as they took people into custody and cleared streets. One video showed on officer slam a woman to the ground as he walked past her in the street.
Demonstrators rocked a police van, set it ablaze, scrawled graffiti across its charred body and set it aflame again as officers retreated. Blocks away, protesters used a club to batter another police vehicle.
“There will be a full review of what happened tonight,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, referring to the Brooklyn protest. “We don’t ever want to see another night like this.”
Civil rights leaders urge police to avoid military force, slam Trump for ‘pouring fuel on the fire’
Conjuring up memories of police confrontations with protesters during the Civil Rights Movement, national civil rights leaders are asking Minneapolis officials not to use military force against demonstrators. They also called out President Donald Trump for potentially inciting more violence.
“We need officers to not take action that escalates tension. The militarized police presence is not helping the situation,’’ Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told USA TODAY. “President Trump, meanwhile, is pouring fuel on the fire by literally advocating for deadly violence to be used.”
The committee and other civil rights groups, including the NAACP, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Urban League, National Action Network and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., sent a letter late Thursday to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo calling for them to not use military force against protesters.
– Deborah Barfield Berry
Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin arrested, booked
Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection to Floyd’s death. He was booked into the Ramsey County Jail.
A criminal complaint that references body cameras worn by the four now-former officers involved in the incident sheds some additional light on what happened on Memorial Day in the moments before and after Floyd’s death.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s complaint said Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, including two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was non-responsive. Read more.
Change.org petition grows at record pace
A petition on Change.org titled “Justice for George Floyd” has generated more than 6.3 million signatures as of Friday night, making it the fastest-growing petition in the website’s history.
The petition, which was started by 15-year-old Kellen S., was growing at a rate of of one signature every two seconds as of Friday morning, Change.org said in a statement.
“This has gone farther than I ever imagined,” Kellen told Change.org in a statement. “I hope that this helps bring the justice for George Floyd and his family that they deserve.”
Nike takes a social stand on race relations
Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” was subverted by its own Instagram post.
The footwear company posted on Friday evening a socially conscious message to its more than 112 million followers.
Incidents that resulted in the deaths of black men and women in the United States have taken the forefront this week, and with a simple text-on-screen video, Nike made its stance clear.
“For once, Don’t Do It. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”
– Josh Rivera
Contributing: Associated Press
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