Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said on Thursday that many of the people who looted businesses and set fires amid the peaceful protests of George Floyd's death on the second night of protests are not believed to be from Minneapolis.
At a press conference on the ongoing investigation into Floyd's death, Arradondo was asked about allegations that some people who were looting businesses were from outside Minneapolis.
"There are allegations that some of the people who started some of the break-ins, looting businesses were folks, outside agitators, and we’ve been hearing people all over social media right now, any leads on that?" a reporter asked.
"There were certainly people who were involved in the activities last night that were certainly not recognized as being here from the city," the police chief said, adding that he is keeping the Mayor briefed about the allegations.
Arradondo also noted that there was "a different dynamic shift from the first evening of the demonstrations [on Tuesday] where there was a different tenor last night [Wednesday night], there was a different group of individuals."
"I want to preface this. The vast majority of people that have come together have been doing so peacefully, but there was a core group of people that had really been focused on causing some destruction," he continued. "Certainly we saw that with some of the looting and in setting fires. We were certainly prepared in terms of that immediate area to provide for the safety."
He said that "the crowds got large and they became more mobile" on Wednesday night, adding that police authorities' number one priority on the night was preserving life.
"We wanted to make sure that we were looking at [the situation] from those who are gathering peacefully in the area, who were also being threatened and risked, our neighboring residents, and also those businesses," he said, and reiterated that "there was a shift that certainly occurred [on Wednesday] night."
He also reiterated that "the vast majority of our Minneapolis community was not participating in the criminal conduct that occurred" on Wednesday.
News helicopter footage on Wednesday night showed protesters 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.
Floyd, a 46-year-old father of two, eventually became unresponsive, and was later pronounced dead on Monday night after authorities took him into custody.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday also called for Chauvin to be criminally charged. He also called for the National Guard to intervene in the protests.