Minnesota protest updates: Trump warns military could ‘assume control’ of protest response – National News

Written by on May 29, 2020


Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStockBy ELLA TORRES and WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Authorities have released the 911 call in connection to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was seen pinned down in a video by a white police officer and later died.

The video of Floyd’s death has now caused outrage in the city of Minneapolis and all over the country. Residents of the city have protested his death since Tuesday. Though they have been mostly peaceful, on Wednesday, officials said “a core group of people” not from Minneapolis caused destruction.

City leaders have called for the community to voice their outrage in a lawful manner.

This story will be updated as protests continue throughout the country. Please check back for updates. All times Eastern:

6:59 a.m.: CNN reporter, crew arrested live on air

CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his production crew were arrested in Minneapolis live on air Friday morning while reporting on the Floyd protests.

The news outlet is reporting that police said they were arrested because they were told to move and didn’t.

“A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves – a clear violation of their First Amendment rights,” CNN said in a statement Friday morning. “The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”

Minnesota State Sen. Jeff Hayden phoned into CNN and said he just had a joint text with the governor and mayor and that they were just trying to get control of the area and weren’t aware of the CNN reporter getting arrested.

“Hoping that we can figure it out,” Hayden said.

6:44 a.m.: 70 arrested or summonsed in New York City during George Floyd protests

At least 70 people were arrested or summonsed during a series of protests that started in Union Square and spread through Lower Manhattan through Thursday night.

Most will be summonsed for obstruction of governmental administration and social distancing violations, but there will also be assault and weapon possession charges.

The protest began in Union Square after 3 p.m., Thursday but after that broke up, protests reemerged at Foley Square courthouses, City Hall and Zuccotti Park, the site of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest, and moved toward the West Side Highway.

Several police officers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, one with a possible concussion.

One person was arrested for assaulting a police officer for throwing a garbage can into a crowd and striking a police officer in the head.

Another person attempted to grab the service weapon from a Deputy Inspector’s holster. That person will be charged with robbery.

1:15 a.m.: Trump says military could assume control in city, ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’

President Donald Trump weighed in on the destructive protests in Minneapolis early Friday morning, saying the military could “assume control” of the response.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted early Friday morning. “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.”

Trump also attacked Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, saying the protests are a result of a 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,” Trump tweeted.

Frey responded to Trump at an early-morning press conference Friday, saying it’s weakness to point fingers during times of crisis.

“Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis,” Frey said. “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we’re gonna get through this.”

12:48 a.m.: Minneapolis asks residents to ‘retreat’ over precinct explosion possibility

After people protesting George Floyd’s death forcibly took over a Minneapolis precinct and began to ignite fires, city officials are now warning residents to leave the area in case the building explodes.

“We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”

Frey said residents must clear the area so the fire department can put out fires.

“We are working with @MinneapolisFire to deliver resources and respond for a beloved neighborhood in our city,” Frey tweeted. “We all need to work together to ensure the safety of our friends, family, and Minneapolis residents. And right now working together means clearing the area.”

The Minnesota National Guard has been activated for the area and said it’s helping the fire department safely get to fires to help them battle the blazes.

Since the protests started, the Saint Paul Police Department said more than 170 businesses have been damaged or looted. Despite the destruction, with dozens of fires set, authorities said there are no reports of serious injuries. “Calm on the horizon,” the department said late Thursday night.

12:32 a.m.: Governor ‘shocked’ after vehicle attempts to run over protester

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he is “absolutely shocked” by video of a car attempting to run over a person protesting the death of Floyd in Denver on Thursday. What started as a peaceful protest turned chaotic with reports of vandalism and violence.

“Tonight is a very sad night for our state. While we are still uncovering all of the facts, a protest regarding the killing of George Floyd devolved into vandalism and violence, and I was absolutely shocked by video evidence of a motorist attempting to run over a protestor,” Polis tweeted. “Coloradans are better than this. I share the immense anguish we all feel about the unjust murder of George Floyd. But let me be clear, senseless violence will never be healed by more violence.”

Previously shots were fired across the street from Colorado’s State Capitol in Denver.

11:51 p.m.: Protesters gain access to police precinct

People protesting the death of Floyd have reportedly taken over the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct and set it on fire, according to authorities.

Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder said staff was evacuated from the building around 10 p.m. local time and that protesters forcibly entered the building and ignited several fires.

Shortly after reports of the precinct takeover, the Minnesota National Guard said it was deploying more than 500 soldiers to the area.

“We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities,” the National Guard said in a statement. “Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.”

9:20 p.m.: Colorado protest marred by gunshots

Protesters outside Colorado’s State Capitol in Denver received a scare when someone apparently fired shots nearby, causing the assembled group to flee.

There were no injuries, authorities confirmed to ABC News.

“Officers on scene at W Colfax Ave and W 15 st on shots fired in the area of the Capital. This is an ongoing investigation and the motive is unknown,” Denver police wrote on Twitter.

Leslie Herod, who is a state representative, tweeted about the incident as well. She added that someone was apprehended, though police have not confirmed any arrests.

The Capitol was put on lockdown, with Herod, who fled inside included. Herod told an ABC News producer she was not scared by the incident.

“No. This only makes me more resolved. We have more work to do,” she said.

8:31 p.m.: 911 call released

The 911 call made by the store owner who accused Floyd of using fraudulent money was released by authorities Thursday evening.

According to the transcript of the call released by the state of Minnesota, the caller — a store owner — told the operator that Floyd entered the store drunk and tried to pay for something with “fake bills.” He later left the shop and sat on his car. It was there where police found him when they arrived at the scene.

“Someone comes [to] our store and give us fake bills and we realize it before he left the store, and we ran back outside, they was [sic] sitting on their car,” the caller said. “We tell them to give us their phone, put their… thing back and everything, and he was also drunk and everything and return to give us our cigarettes back and so he can, so he can go home but he doesn’t want to do that, and he’s sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”

The operator then asked the caller for Floyd’s race and sex.

“No, he’s a black guy,” the caller replied. “Alright,” the operator said, letting out a sigh according to the transcript, before the caller asked, “How is your day going?”

6:25 p.m.: Investigation is ‘top priority’ for DOJ

The Department of Justice has made the investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority,” Erica MacDonald, attorney for state of Minnesota, said at a press conference.

MacDonald said President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr are “directly and actively” monitoring the case.

“It is critical, it is essential, it is imperative that the investigation is done right and done right the first time,” she said. “And that is what we are going to do.”

No federal or state charges against the officers were announced at the press conference.

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman asked for “patience.”

“Give us the time to do this right and we will bring you justice — I promise,” Freeman said.

He said his office has been flooded with calls on the status of the investigation. The main question, he said, has been, “what’re you gonna do about the murder of George Floyd?”

“We are going to investigate as thoroughly as justice demands,” Freeman said.

He called the officer’s action “excessive and wrong,” but said he needs to determine if it was criminal.

Both MacDonald and Freeman called on the public to come forward with any information they may have.

There was a delay in starting the press conference, which MacDonald apologized for and said she was hoping to share a development but that it was not the right time.

5:35 p.m.: City releases complaint history of 4 officers

The police officer seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck was involved in 18 complaints prior to being fired, according to records released by the city.

Derek Chauvin, who was fired following Floyd’s death, was only disciplined for two of those complaints, according to the city records.

The documents do not provide the details of the complaints or the disciplines.

Tou Thao, who was the officer seen standing up in the video, had six complaints, one of which remains open, according to the records. Thao, who was also fired, was not disciplined for the other five complaints.

The other two officers who were fired, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng, have had no complaints.

5:15 p.m.: Governor signs executive order activating National Guard

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard following Wednesday night’s protests.

Walz said the purpose of the National Guard was “to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”

“The anger and grief of this moment is unbearable. People deserve to be seen. People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe,” he said in a statement. “While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved.”

The National Guard Adjutant General will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to respond to and recover from the protests, according to Walz’s office.

There will also be about 200 members of the Minnesota State Patrol that will work with state, county, and local community and public safety partners. State Patrol helicopters and fixed wind aircraft on the ground will assist law enforcement officers, the governor’s office said.

5:03 p.m.: Families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery issue joint statement

The families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — all of whom died after incidents with current and former law enforcement — are demanding change and calling for government action to address this “national crisis.”

“We’re devastated about the senseless violence that has broken the hearts of our families,” the families said in a joint statement. “While we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support, it’s important that now – more than ever – we use our voices to enact change, demand accountability within our justice system and keep the legacies of Breonna, Ahmaud and George alive. This is a national crisis and our government needs to take immediate and widespread action to protect our black and brown communities.”

The families have called for a congressional hearing and a national task force to create new bipartisan legislation that is aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability.

They will also present a case to United Nation Human Rights Committee for sweeping changes to the nation’s criminal justice system. A date for when they would be presenting their case was not provided.

Taylor, a black woman, was a front-line worker who died after a police-involved shooting. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping inside their Springfield Drive apartment on March 13 when officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department attempted to execute a “no-knock” search warrant.

Three plainclothes officers opened Taylor’s front door and “blindly” opened fire into their apartment, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April by Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. Taylor was shot at least eight times and died.

Arbery, a black man, was out for a jog when two white men saw him and set off to confront him, police said. The men, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael, a former police officer, were armed.

A video shows Arbery and Travis McMichael tussling with the shotgun before three shots are fired. Arbery stumbled and fell to the ground, where he was pronounced dead.

City leaders react to protests

The mayor, police chief and city council vice president in Minneapolis emotionally addressed the violent protests that took place Wednesday night over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was seen pinned down in a video by a white police officer and later died.

Mayor Jacob Frey, who at one point became choked up and tearful, said that the protests were “the result of so much built up anger and sadness.”

“Anger and sadness that has been engrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years,” Frey said at a press conference. “If you’re feeling that sadness and anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right.”

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he knew that there was a “deficit of hope” in the community and that his department has contributed to that deficit.

He also said that the violence and destruction seen in Wednesday night’s protest was mostly caused by a “core group of people” who were not from Minnesota. He said that most of the community members who have been protesting since Floyd’s death Monday have been peaceful.

Arradondo said he wanted to ensure that people could safely protest, but he said he could not allow for criminal acts.

Wednesday night’s protest caused destruction and chaos in Minneapolis, including a deadly shooting, looting and multiple fires.

The protests, which had been largely peaceful up until Wednesday night, were in wake of Floyd’s death after he was apprehended by Minneapolis police Monday. Disturbing video emerged on social media showing a police officer with his knee on the man’s neck as the man repeatedly yells out, “I can’t breathe.”

“I can’t breathe, please, the knee in my neck,” the man said in a video showing a police officer pinning him to the ground. “I can’t move … my neck … I’m through, I’m through.”

City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins sang “Amazing Grace” at Thursday’s press conference before addressing the protests.

Jenkins said she wanted to offer “amazing grace” and her condolences to the Floyd family.

“We feel as if there was a knee on all of our collective necks, a knee that says black lives do not matter,” Jenkins, who is black, said. “I am part of this system to help to take that knee off of our necks.”

Jenkins, Frey and Arradondo said they would be working with the community leaders. A “healing space” will be created at the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis for residents to express their concerns and anger in a safe and humane way, Jenkins said.

Overnight developments

Police said during the protests they responded to a call of a stabbing victim and found a man in grave condition near the protests. The man later died in the hospital and authorities learned he died from a gunshot wound, according to John Elder, the director of communication for Minneapolis police.

One person was in custody after the shooting, police said. It was not immediately clear what led to the shooting, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the owner of a pawn shop opened fire on a man he believed was burglarizing his business and fatally shot him.

Police said multiple businesses were looted during the protests and the city’s fire department said there were 30 intentional fires during the protests, including at least 16 structure fires.

Massive flames were seen in the sky on videos that circulated throughout social media. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire department said crews were still extinguishing fires along East Lake Street.

People were also throwing rocks at fire department vehicles responding to the scene, according to the fire department, which noted there were no firefighter injuries. Elder had said people were throwing rocks at firefighters.

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, wrote on Twitter the family thanked the protesters and wanted peace in Minneapolis, but “knows that Black people want peace in their souls — and until we get #JusticeForFloyd there will be no peace.”

“We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors and endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and in outrage,” Crump wrote Thursday morning. “Looting and violence distract from strength of our collective voice.”

The city requested assistance from the National Guard late Wednesday during the protests, according to ABC Saint Paul affiliate KSTP.

The National Guard did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

“Tonight was a different night of protesting. Last night we had 8,000 protestors all peaceful. Tonight we did not have that,” Elder said.

Elder said that there were no serious injuries to officers. He was not sure about the number of people arrested.

The fire department said there were no civilian injuries from the fires.

Gov. Tim Walz urged people to leave the area as the situation escalated.

“The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene,” Walz wrote on Twitter.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also asked people to evacuate the area.

“Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” Frey wrote on Twitter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing Floyd’s death. On Thursday, it was announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office were conducting a “robust” criminal investigation into his death.

“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law. It is a violation of federal law for an individual acting under color of law to willfully deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,” according to a joint statement from United States Attorney Erica MacDonald And FBI Special Agent In Charge Rainer Drolshagen.

The officers involved in the incident were identified by police as Officer Derek Chauvin, Officer Thomas Lane, Officer Tou Thao and Officer J Alexander Kueng.

All four officers were fired, according to Frey.

“This is the right call,” the mayor said.

The Minneapolis Police Department said Monday that officers were initially called to the scene “on a report of a forgery in progress” in a statement on their website.

The statement added that officers were advised that the suspect “appeared to be under the influence” and that he “physically resisted officers.”

He later “appeared to be suffering medical distress” and officers called an ambulance. He was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, “where he died a short time later.”

The police department said there were no weapons of any type used by anyone involved in the incident and no officers were injured.

ABC News’ Catherine, Thorbecke and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

 

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