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Protests flare around the United States over Minneapolis killing

Published May 30, 2020

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MINNEAPOLIS - Protests flared late into

the night in many cities in the United States over the killing

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of George Floyd, a black man who died this week after being

pinned down by the neck by a white police officer in

Minneapolis.

The sometimes violent demonstrations hit cities from New

York to Atlanta in a tide of anger over the treatment of

minorities by law enforcement.

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Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer shown

in video footage pinning Floyd down on the street with his knee,

was charged with murder in the case on Friday.

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Chauvin, who was dismissed from the police with three fellow

officers the day after Monday's fatal encounter, was arrested on

third-degree murder and manslaughter charges for his role in the

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death of Floyd, 46.

In Detroit, a 19-year-old man protesting in the city was

shot dead on Friday night by a suspect who pulled up to

demonstrators in a sport utility vehicle and fired gunshots into

the crowd, then fled, the Detroit Free Press and other local

media reported. Police could not immediately be reached for

comment.

Hundreds in the city had joined a "March Against Police

Brutality" late in the afternoon outside the Detroit Public

Safety Headquarters.

Many chanted, "No justice, no peace." Some carried signs

that read, "End police brutality" and "I won't stop yelling

until everyone can breathe."

Thousands of chanting protesters filled the streets of New

York City's Brooklyn borough near the Barclays Center indoor

arena. Police armed with batons and pepper spray made scores of

arrests in sometimes violent clashes.

In lower Manhattan, demonstrators at a "We can't breathe"

vigil and rally were pressing for legislation outlawing the

police "chokehold" used by a city police officer in the 2014

death of Eric Garner, who was also black.

In Washington, police and Secret Service agents were out in

force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators

gathered across the street in Lafayette Square chanting,"I can't

breathe."

The protests erupted and spread around the country this week

after video footage taken by an onlooker's cell phone was widely

circulated on the internet. It shows Floyd gasping for air and

repeatedly groaning, "Please, I can't breathe," while a crowd of

bystanders shouted at police to let him up.

The video reignited rage that civil rights activists said

has long simmered in Minneapolis and cities across the country

over persistent racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.

CHAOTIC SCENES IN ATLANTA

In Atlanta, Bernice King, the youngest daughter of civil

rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., implored people to go home

on Friday night after more than 1,000 protesters marched to the

state capitol from the Centennial Olympic Park, blocking traffic

and an interstate highway along the way.

The demonstration turned chaotic and at times violent. Fires

burned in downtown Atlanta near the CNN Center, the network's

headquarters.

At least one police car was among several vehicles burnt.

Windows were smashed at the CNN building, along with store

fronts. Police pushed back the crowd, but they hurled bottles at

officers.

Protesters also took to the streets in other cities

including Denver and Houston.

In Minneapolis, hundreds of protesters defied an 8 p.m.

curfew to gather in the streets around a police station burnt

the previous night.

"We are out here because we, as a generation, realize things

have to change," said one marcher, Paul Selman, a 25-year-old

black man.

The charges brought by Hennepin County prosecutors against

the police officer came after a third night of arson, looting

and vandalism in which protesters set fire to a police station,

and the National Guard was deployed to help restore order in

Minnesota's largest city.

Authorities had hoped Chauvin's arrest would allay public

anger. But defying an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Jacob Frey,

about 500 demonstrators clashed anew with riot police outside

the battered Third Precinct building.

Police, creating a two-block buffer area around the precinct

house, opened fire with tear gas, plastic bullets and concussion

grenades, scattering the crowd.

Another group of protesters later converged near the city's

Fifth Precinct station until police arrived and fired tear gas

and plastic bullets to break up that gathering. A nearby bank

and post office were set on fire.

Still, Friday night's crowds were far smaller and more

widely dispersed than the night before.

Law enforcement kept a mostly low profile, a strategy

seemingly calculated to reduce the risk of violent

confrontations, as was the case in several urban centers across

the country where sympathy protests arose.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, announcing Chauvin's

arrest, said the investigation into Chauvin, who faces up to 25

years in prison if convicted, was ongoing and he anticipated

also charging the three other police officers, identified by the

city as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

Floyd, a Houston native who had worked security for a

nightclub, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money at

a store to buy cigarettes on Monday evening. 

REUTERS

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