Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Protesters torch Minneapolis police station in violent night

Published:Friday | May 29, 2020 | 9:27 AM
A protester carries a US flag upside, a sign of distress, next to a burning building Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thick smoke hovered over Minneapolis on Friday, hours after cheering protesters torched a police station that officers abandoned as a third night of violent protests flared over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Police evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, late Thursday to protect employees, a spokesman said.

Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers. President Donald Trump threatened action, prompting a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”

Dozens of fires were also set in nearby St. Paul, where nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted.

Protests spread across the US, fuelled by outrage over Floyd’s death, and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrators clashed with officers in New York and blocked traffic in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.

Trump threatened to bring Minneapolis “under control,” calling the protesters “thugs” and tweeting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The tweet drew another warning from Twitter, which said the comment violated the platform’s rules, but the company did not remove it.

Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd’s death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video.

In the footage, Floyd can be seen pleading as officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him.

As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.

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