The Minneapolis police 3rd police precinct station has been overrun and breached as tensions continued to escalate in the Minnesota city following the death of George Floyd. Police evacuated the station.
In a short statement posted on their website, Minneapolis police confirmed, “Update on 3rd Police Precinct. Shortly after 10:00 pm tonight, 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.”
In an early morning press conference on May 29, Mayor Jacob Frey said, “The decision comes down to public safety, period.” He said the “importance of a building” was not as important as life, but he said he understands it is a symbol. He said the building is “just bricks and mortar. It’s just a building,” and he said people will still receive services. You can read more of Frey’s comments here.
Photos and videos showed the building was taken over and was ablaze. Five hundred National Guard soldiers are headed to Minneapolis, CNN reported.
Officer Derek Chauvin has now been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with George Floyd’s death. You can read more about that here.
As more people breached the perimeter, Frey said that it “became obvious to me that safety was at risk. And it became obvious to me that we could take a different route that would better assist both the public as well as the safety of our police officers.”
Libor Jany, a Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter, also wrote on Twitter, “Scanner: ‘3rd Precinct has been overrun. Evacuating 3rd Precinct.’ From the sounds of it, all officers are being evacuated from the police station at the main protest site.” Police have not officially confirmed what is going on at the 3rd precinct. Videos, which you can watch throughout this article, showed people breaching the precinct and setting it on fire.
You can watch livestream video from the scene below. The video shows chaos outside the precinct. The precinct was lost even after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard earlier in the day to restore calm to the streets.
Videos from major television stations showed the 3rd precinct on fire. Photos showed the damage.
President Donald Trump tweeted, “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right. These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
A CNN correspondent described the precinct as having no police presence.
Here’s what you need to know:
Videos Showed People Inside the Police Precinct
Video appeared to show people had made it inside the precinct.
“NSANE FOOTAGE FROM INSIDE POLICE 3RD PRECINCT IN MINNEAPOLIS. RIOTERS HAVE BROKEN IN AND SET ON FIRE,” wrote one social media user, sharing this video:
People reacted on Twitter.
“Police seem to have partially retreated, protesters breaching the perimeter barriers and knocking down spy cams now, building itself likely breached,” wrote Unicorn Riot, a site posting livestream video from the scene.
One man shared video and wrote, “Large convoy of police and full busses (sic) just left the area away from the 3rd Precinct, South Minneapolis. Also, Precinct appears to be fully engulfed in flames.”
People on social media were describing the police as having “retreated.”
The unrest in Minneapolis/St. Paul came after a viral video showing a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressing his knee against the neck of a man named George Floyd during an arrest. Floyd pleads that he can’t breathe, and then goes silent, but Chauvin keeps him restrained in that manner despite bystanders urging police to check on his welfare. Chauvin and three other officers have been fired; a federal investigation is ongoing. A cause of death has not been released by the medical examiner’s office. Floyd was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.
The turmoil in the streets escalated, starting on the evening of May 27, as an AutoZone was lit on fire, Target was looted and other businesses were destroyed or damaged. You can see a list and photos of some of the damaged businesses here.
On May 28 in the afternoon, fire officials said they responded to 16 structure fires on the evening of May 27, 2020 as unrest erupted in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota over the death of George Floyd. That’s only the beginning of the damage, though, as other businesses were looted but not burned. Damaged businesses included a local Target store, a Cub Food store, and smaller businesses like Town Talk Diner.
However, the unrest was only escalating on the evening of May 28. Earlier in the day, in a news conference, Medaria Arradondo, the police chief, expressed sorrow for the devastation caused to Floyd’s family and the community by his death. He said, though, that he won’t allow the destruction of businesses, calling them “vital to the health of our community.” The mayor, Jacob Frey, echoed that sentiment, saying that the city’s businesses are “essential pieces for our community that we’re going to need.”