First Responders

George Floyd Death Sparks Violent Protests in Minneapolis — Here’s What You Need to Know

May 27, 2020Joshua Skovlund

Police deploying gas during the protests. Photo courtesy of Twitter/@chescaleigh

On Monday at approximately 8 PM, Minneapolis Police responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South for a potential forgery in progress. When officers arrived on scene, they located a suspect matching the description in his car and ordered him to step out of his vehicle. According to the Minneapolis Police Department’s press release, “After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

A video released from an area restaurant’s security camera appears to conflict with that statement. 

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Controversy rapidly developed after a video of the officers kneeling on top of the man now identified as George Floyd surfaced on social media. The video showed three officers with their knees on top of Floyd while he was pleading that he could not breathe. One of the officer’s had his left knee on Floyd’s neck.

As the video progresses, Floyd slowly becomes unresponsive. The police officers did not let up until Hennepin County EMS arrived and checked the man’s pulse. Floyd was loaded onto the stretcher, into the ambulance, and taken to the hospital. 

Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck during the incident. Screen grab from YouTube video.

According to a sound cloud audio clip uploaded by Minnesota Law Enforcement Incident Audio, the paramedics confirmed that Floyd was in cardiac arrest when they arrived on scene. He was pronounced dead at the hospital after paramedics and the receiving hospital worked to revive him. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the FBI are separately investigating the incident. The FBI is investigating a civil rights violation; the BCA will bring their conclusion to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for any possible criminal charges.

The four officers involved were initially put on administrative leave. “Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he had stayed up all night wrestling with his decision to fire the officers,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. “Arradondo said he couldn’t say much about the case — either about the FBI’s investigation or a parallel probe by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) — but added that ‘sanctity of life’ has always been a pillar of his department.”

The four officers’ jobs were terminated that night. 

A protester outside the 3rd precinct Minneapolis Police Department yesterday. Photo by Jeff Schad, courtesy of Jeff Schad. Imagery.

According to national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump’s media alert, he has been retained to represent Floyd’s family in the case against the officers involved with the incident. Crump is well-known for his prior cases, most notably representing Trayvon Martin’s family in the Florida wrongful death case that sparked the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement. 

The 3rd Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department came under attack Tuesday evening, following peaceful protests that turned violent earlier in the day. A second large group of protesters gathered outside the home of former Officer Derek Chauvin. 

Minneapolis Police dispatch reported a possible explosion earlier in the night after a call to 911 reported that a person was possibly on fire. Multiple shots fired at the precinct and in the area of the protests were called in over the radio between police and their dispatch throughout the night. Several Minneapolis Police squad cars were severely damaged and vandalized.

Minneapolis Squad Car
A Minneapolis squad car vandalized. Photo courtesy of Ruben E. Mendez/Facebook.

Police deployed CS gas, rubber bullets, and other less lethal munitions throughout the night. Calls from Minneapolis Police to their dispatch requested barriers to be moved in suit with the protesters adjusting their positions around the precinct. 

Around 9 PM, officers reported that the protesters were using vehicle headlights to target police in order to throw projectiles at them. Police established overhead lights to counter the protesters’ ability to identify and throw objects at the police.

Police made requests to dispatch at 9:45 PM to arrest a protester who was using a paintball gun to shoot them in the face. Police were wearing gas masks due to the use of CS gas to break up the riot, and their vision was obscured when hit with a paintball.

A protester marches in Minneapolis after George Floyd died in police custody. Photo by Jeff Schad, courtesy of Jeff Schad Imagery.

At approximately 10:40 PM, officers requested permission to break up barricades in the Target parking lot located adjacent to the precinct. Protesters had built up Target shopping carts, as well as using a semitruck and trailer to protect them from the police’s less lethal rounds. It was reported that protesters were throwing large rocks and bricks at the police. Police broke up the protesters’ barricades in one corner of the parking lot.

Protesters also broke into a liquor store across from the precinct, and police requested to establish a quick reaction force (QRF) to stop destruction to the local business. Shortly after, reports of protesters throwing glass bottles at police were called into dispatch. Police reported securing the liquor store and established a “security bubble” in order to establish a route for a “board up” company to come in and secure the windows of the liquor store.

At 1:30 AM Wednesday, protesters broke into the liquor store a second time, with reports of more looting. Police secured additional officers before intervening, and multiple protesters were arrested shortly after. Police then walked the arrested protesters to the precinct because they were unable to drive a squad car to their location.

Protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs. Photo by Jeff Schad, courtesy of Jeff Schad.

Throughout the night, officers continued to secure the precinct and the surrounding area to prevent further property damage. At approximately 3 AM, protesters started to storm the precinct barriers again, and police again repelled them with less lethal munitions. Officers also reported a female protester throwing bottles of urine at them.

At approximately 4 AM, police identified a male carrying a rifle of unknown origin, who proceeded to shoot out the front window of the 3rd Precinct. Police attempted to track the identified male with officers and a K9 but were unable to locate the suspect.

Police communications switched to cell phones due to protesters having access to radio scanner apps on their phones. The protest lasted late into the morning with the last major radio traffic coming in at 5 AM CDT.

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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