George Floyd was a Minnesota man who died in police custody. A video of his death surfaced, showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the back of his neck for several minutes as a handcuffed Floyd begged for help and told him and other officers that he couldn’t breathe.
The mayor of Minneapolis announced that the four police officers involved have been fired and that the FBI has started an investigation into the incident, local news station KSTP reported.
Georgiades said that the crowd that started at a vigil for Floyd quickly swelled to thousands. Activists participated in chants of “No justice, no peace.” They also led chants of “I can’t breathe,” at times — the same words spoken by Floyd as he was on the ground.
Several protesters were marching east down 38th Street where the incident took place, in the direction of the third precinct, Georgiades noted.
People commenting on the videos of the protests expressed appreciation for the mix of people who joined the protests and the fact that many were wearing masks.
As the night wore on, there was charged language from protesters in the crowd, many of whom shouted, “F*** the police.”
One woman yelled, “Why didn’t you just listen?”
Another protester shouted out, “You brought this on yourselves, you f***ing murderous pigs.”
Protesters were also spray-painting graffiti, with such words as “f*** 12” and “ACAB,” which stands for “all cops are bastards,” according to Georgiades.
Police were shooting the crowd with rubber bullets, spraying mace and throwing tear gas into the crowd, which Georgiades noted some protesters were picking up and throwing back.
The sounds of teargas and stun grenades punctuated protests more frequently as the protests continued into the evening. Georgiades said it was the most tear gas he had ever seen and he also said it caused several small fires that were being ignited in the grass.
During his live-stream, Georgiades said that throughout the protests, some people had been smashing windows around the police precinct, including on police officers’ work and personal vehicles, according to Georgiades.
One of the protesters said that the protests began peaceful but had been infiltrated by agitators, leading to more tension between protesters and police.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Paul Castaway’s brother, Gabriel Black Elk, said that he had watched the video and it made him cry, but his sadness quickly turned to anger. “When the cops get away with murder and everybody wants it to be peaceful, this is as peaceful as it’s going to get,” he said, pointing to the crowd.
Paul Castaway was a Native American man who was shot and killed by Denver Police officers after Castaway began walking towards them with a knife and threatening to kill himself, according to the Denver Post.