MINNEAPOLIS—Violent protests over the death of a black man in police custody broke out in Minneapolis for a second straight night Wednesday, with protesters in a standoff with officers outside a police precinct and looting of nearby stores.
News helicopter footage showed protesters milling in streets near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, with some running in and out of nearby stores. A Target, a Cub Foods, a Dollar Tree, and an auto parts store all showed signs of damage and looting. As darkness fell, fire erupted in the auto parts store, and city fire crews rushed to control it.
Officers could be seen surrounding the nearby precinct, not attempting to intervene in the looting. Earlier, some protesters skirmished with officers, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas in a repeat of Tuesday night’s confrontation. A police spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages.
The violence followed the death Monday night of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man whom police sought to arrest outside a south Minneapolis grocery store. A citizen’s cell phone video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd ‘s neck for almost eight minutes as he eventually became unresponsive.
The officer and three others were fired Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Mayor Jacob Frey called for him to be criminally charged.
Protesters also gathered Wednesday evening at the officer’s suburban home as well as the Minneapolis home of Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County prosecutor who would make a charging decision in the case. No violence was reported in those protests.
As the protests stretched into the evening, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo urged calm. In an interview with KMSP-TV, he noted the internal investigation as well as the FBI’s investigation of Floyd’s death and said they offer a chance at justice.
“Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we’re seeing tonight, whether it’s the looting, the damage to property or other things,” he said.
In California, hundreds of people protesting Floyd’s death blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers on Wednesday.