Posted on May 27, 2020

Police in Riot Gear Fire Rubber Bullets and Tear Gas at Thousands of Protestors Demanding the Arrest of Four Minneapolis Cops Involved in the Death of Black Man George Floyd

Rachel Sharp and Karen Ruiz, Daily Mail, May 27, 2020

Minneapolis cops in riot gear last night fired rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of defiant protesters who took to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, the black man who died after a white officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during his arrest.

Demonstrators carrying placards reading ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘Justice 4 Floyd’ surrounded a police precinct Tuesday night after the disturbing video of 46-year-old Floyd begging the cop to stop before falling unconscious was shared online.

Four members of the Minneapolis Police Department who were involved in Monday’s incident have now been fired, and the FBI and state law enforcement authorities have launched an investigation into Floyd’s death.

The victim’s heartbroken family have called for the cops to be charged with murder and their lawyer revealed white cop Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a staggering eight minutes during the arrest for forgery.

Floyd’s death has caused outrage across America with political figures and celebrities including Cardi B, P Diddy and Demi Lovato voicing their anger.

Floyd worked as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro, a local bistro in Minneapolis. The bar’s owners have described him as a ‘very calm, nice guy’ who was not the type to be ‘aggressive’ or ‘disrespectful’.

The demonstrators demanded the arrest of the four officers and converged on a police station, but were met with rubber bullets and tear gas fired by masked cops as the city’s streets descended into chaos.

Some had their faces doused in milk to limit the effects of the gas while others ran for cover.

The peaceful event turned ugly as it continued into the night, with footage showing both police and protesters hurling things at each other.

Police in riot gear were pictured forming a barrier around the precinct from around 7.30pm as swarms of people marched on the building, reported CBS Local.

Footage then revealed some protesters sitting on the ground, while officers threw smoke bombs, tear gas and flash grenades into the crowds.

At one point, a car was seen being struck by a tear gas canister as people ran away.

Images showed people who had gathered for the rally desperately fleeing as rubber bullets and tear gas rained down on them.

In one picture, a man was seen holding his hands up in a gesture that started in the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ movement in Ferguson in 2014, following the fatal shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer.

Others hid behind shopping carts from the Target store nearby.

Shawanda Hill, the girlfriend of George Floyd, was pictured at the rally near the spot where her boyfriend died being comforted by other protesters as she choked back tears of grief.

A reporter for Star Tribune, Andy Mannix, said in a Twitter post that he was shot in the thigh with a rubber bullet while covering the protests, as tensions mounted between law enforcement and the protesters.

The demonstrators hit back at the police too, with some seen throwing bricks and rocks at police vehicles and smashing up the car windows.

One man was seen launching a large brick onto an empty squad car.

There have been reports of at least one officer injured in the chaos.

Hundreds of people began gathering at the intersection of E 38th St and Chicago Avenue in the city during the afternoon, ahead of a planned march of around two miles from the site of Floyd’s arrest to the police precinct.

One woman was seen wearing a face mask with the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ written across her mouth.

Protesters raised their fists and sported face masks to protect them from the spread of COVID-19 as they gathered for the rally near the spot where Floyd died.

The clashes between police and protesters came as Floyd’s devastated family broke their silence over his death and said the firing of the four officers involved was just ‘a start’ and that the cops ‘murdered our cousin’.

Two of Floyd’s cousins spoke of their heartache to, while the family’s lawyer called for white cop Derek Chauvin to be charged with murder and the other three officers involved charged as murder accomplices.

Shareeduh Tate, one of Floyd’s cousins, told how she watched the horrific footage on TV before realizing it was her ‘baby cousin’.

‘I actually saw it before knowing it was my cousin – I saw it on Gayle King,’ said Shareeduh Tate.

‘And I remember thinking how devastating this would be for the family who have lost their family member like this… then about five minutes after that I got a phone call saying that it was my cousin.’

She thanked the bystanders who were heard in the footage urging the police to stop what they were doing and warning them that they were killing Floyd.

‘I can’t thank them enough. We always see these kinds of things take place and we always wonder what we would do in that position and we’re so grateful… and even more so grateful for the person who was there with a camera to capture it as so many times there is not a witness around and it’s questionable as to what has happened,’ Tate said.

Floyd’s other cousin Tera Brown called the footage ‘unbelievable’.

‘It’s unbelievable to see someone suffering in the way that he did,’ she said. ‘And to have so many people around asking for them to basically allow him to live.’

Tate said the firing of the four police officers was ‘a start’ but is ‘definitely not enough’ as she blasted the authorities for ‘murdering’ the father-of-one.

‘They murdered our cousin,’ she said.

Brown described him as ‘the cousin that everybody loved’ who was ‘always happy’ and a ‘jokester’.

‘He was everybody’s favorite everything – he was the favorite friend, the favorite cousin,’ she added.

She said news of his death has been especially hard on Floyd’s daughter who she said is ‘not doing well’.

Ben Crump, the attorney for the victim’s family has demanded officers face murder charges over the killing and said this is ‘worse than Eric Garner’ because the officers held Floyd down by the neck for a staggering eight minutes.

Crump pointed to the similarities in the case with the death of unarmed black man Garner who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by New York City police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.

Parallels have already been drawn between the two cases but Crump described Floyd’s death as even ‘worse’.

‘I mean it was 8 minutes. It is in many ways worse than Eric Garner as they have his knees on his neck and he is begging, pleading for not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes but eight minutes – begging them to let him breathe so we have ‘we can’t breathe’ again in 2020,’ he said.

‘It just takes you back to Eric Garner and now we have another black man saying to police ‘I can’t breathe’ and them not offering any humanity.’

Crump said news that the officers had been fired was a ‘good first step’ but said it does not go far enough to getting justice for the dead man.

‘I think the officer should be charged with murder,’ Crump told, about Derek Chauvin, who has been identified as the cop who held Floyd down by the neck.

‘It was clear that he was begged by public bystanders to take his knee off George’s neck.’

Crump also called for the other officers involved to be charged as accomplices to murder.

‘They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George. We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people that are supposed to protect and serve us,’ he said.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Tuesday that four officers are now ‘former employees’ of the force.

‘We know there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing but the vast majority of the work we do never require the use of force,’ Arradondo said.

The names of the four fired cops have not been released, however two officers seen in the video were identified by Floyd’s family’s lawyer as Chauvin and Tou Thao.

The two were filmed in a video taken by a bystander on Monday which showed Floyd struggling to breathe on the ground as a white cop kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

Floyd, who was arrested on suspicion of forgery on Monday night, was heard repeatedly telling officers that he could not breathe as he lay on the ground next to the tire of a squad car.

‘Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,’ Floyd, who is shirtless, begs the  cop.

The officer repeatedly tells him ‘Well get up and get in the car then,’ while he continues to pin Floyd to the ground.

Floyd responds ‘I will’ but the cop continues to hold him to the ground by his neck.

‘My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts,’ Floyd is heard gasping at one point, before saying he needs water.

After several minutes, one of the officers tells him to ‘relax.’

‘Man, I can’t breathe,’ Floyd responds, before eventually passing out.

An ambulance then arrives and police officers move the man’s limp body onto a stretcher.

In the footage, shared by onlooker Darnella Frazier, multiple witnesses were also heard arguing with the two cops over their excessive use of force.

‘Bro, you’ve got him down at least let him breathe, man,’ a male onlooker says.

‘He’s not even resisting arrest … he’s human, bro.’

One of the officers then replies: ‘This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.’

‘This ain’t about drugs, bro! He’s human,’ the bystander says.

‘You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language, you bum. You know that’s bogus right now,’ he adds.

As Floyd’s unresponsive body is moved into an ambulance, a male onlooker says: ‘You just really killed that man, bro.’

‘And if he’s not dead, he’s close to death, that’s crazy,’ Frazier adds.

‘They killed him right in front of Cup Foods over south on 38th and Chicago!! No type of sympathy. #PoliceBrutality,’ Frazier wrote in a Facebook post.

Floyd was identified as the victim on Tuesday by Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who is also representing the family of 25-year-old black man Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by two white men in Georgia earlier this month.

‘This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge,’ Crump said in a statement.

‘We will seek justice for the family of George Floyd, as we demand answers from the Minnesota Police Department. How many ‘while black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?’

The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement Tuesday morning confirming Floyd died in hospital after officers had responded to a ‘forgery in progress.’

They did not release details on Floyd’s alleged offense or what he had been doing in the lead up to his attempted arrest.

According to CBS Local, he was apprehended outside Cup Foods grocery store around 8pm after he allegedly tried to use forged documents at a deli.

Police found the man matching the suspect’s description in his car.

‘He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,’ police spokesman John Elder claimed in a statement.

‘Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.’

He was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said.

When asked by reporters about the use of the knee on the man’s neck, Chief Arradondo said the department has ‘policies in place regarding placing someone under control’ that ‘will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.’

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed the FBI has joined in its investigation.

All body camera footage has been turned over to the BCA, which investigates most police shootings and in-custody deaths.

The officers involved were initially put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the incident in a press conference on Tuesday morning, calling events in the video ‘wrong at every level.’

‘Being black in America should not be a death sentence,’ he said.

‘For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man. For five minutes.

‘When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help.

‘This officer failed in the most basic human sense. What happened on Chicago and 38th, this last night, is simply awful.’

Frey also apologized to the family of the man as well as the black community.

‘He was a human being and his life mattered,’ he said.

Minnesota state Senator Amy Klobuchar released a statement following the mayor’s media briefing, calling for the police officers involved to be held accountable.

‘We heard his repeated calls for help. We heard him say over and over again that he could not breathe. And now we have a seen yet another horrifying and gutwrenching instance of an African American man dying,’ she said.

‘Every single person in every single community in this country deserves to feel safe. As the Mayor Minneapolis noted, this tragic loss of life calls for immediate action.

‘There must be a complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.

‘Justice must be served for this man and his family, justice must be served for our community, and justice must be served for our country.’

Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, said watching the footage that was shared on social media made her ‘sick to her stomach’ and called the incident another example of police brutality toward African American men, the Star Tribune reported.

‘Whatever the man may have done should not have ended in a death sentence,’ she said.

‘What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man.’

Levy-Armstrong said the incident reminded her of the Eric Garner case.

He was an unarmed New York man who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life saying he couldn’t breathe.

A grand jury later decided against indicting the officers involved, sparking protests around the country.

Police in Minneapolis have come under the microscope in recent years for deadly run-ins with citizens.

A 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault.

A county prosecutor declined to prosecute the officers, saying Clark was struggling for one of the officers´ gun when he was shot.

A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call.

That officer, who is black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence.

The heartbroken sister of George Floyd has called for the four officers involved in her brother’s death to be charged with murder, saying firing them ‘is just not enough.’

Bridgett Floyd said she has still not watched the disturbing footage of her brother’s confrontation with Minneapolis police officers on Monday that has been widely shared on social media and has sparked nationwide calls for justice.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in hospital on Monday after losing consciousness when a white police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck while he was arrested for forgery.

The Minneapolis Police Department announced the four officers involved in the arrest were terminated on Tuesday after they were initially placed on paid administrative leave.

Floyd’s death is now being investigated by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities.

Bridgett and her family have since demanded the four cops, who have not been officially identified, be jailed over Floyd’s death.

‘I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,’ Bridgett Floyd told Today on Wednesday.

‘They murdered my brother. He was crying for help. I don’t need them to be suspended and able to work in another state or another county.

‘Their license should be taken away, their jobs should be taken away, and they should be put in jail for murder.’

Bridgett revealed she is yet to watch the video of her brother being apparently suffocated by a police officer and has only been able to imagine the ‘devastating’ events take place in her head from what she has been told.

‘That’s all I could see in my head that a police officer was putting all his might into my brother’s neck to where he could not catch his breath. He could not breathe,’ she told GMA.

‘I’m just imagining all this in my head because I have not watched the video – it’s very, very devastating to see those guys do my brother like that.

‘Everything that I am being told, I’m imagining it in my head. It’s very heartbreaking. Very, very, very heartbreaking.’

A statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday confirmed Floyd died at Hennepin County Medical Center after suffering ‘medical distress.’

Spokesman John Elder said the officers were called to the scene after receiving reports of a ‘forgery in progress’ and had located Floyd in his car.

‘He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,’ he said in a statement.

However, new footage has since emerged showing Floyd being forcibly removed from his car by officers before an altercation ensued.

The video showed he had been held down by the neck for more than six minutes, repeatedly telling officers that he was in pain and could not breathe.

‘It’s wrong. Period. It’s wrong. I don’t understand how someone could possibly let an individual go out like that,’ Bridgett added.

‘He’s yelling, he’s telling the officer he can’t breathe.’

‘Firing them – ‘It’s definitely not enough justice for me or my family.

‘Those guys need to be put in jail. They murdered my brother. They killed him.

‘They don’t need to walk the streets and mess around and this happen to another family. They need to apply more pressure on these guys. Firing them is just not enough.’

The names of the four officers fired over the Floyd’s death have not been officially released, however two which were seen in video footage were identified online as Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.

Floyd’s family is now being represented by prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump who said the incident is ‘worse than Eric Garner’, a black man who was killed in 2014 after being put in a lethal chokehold by police during his arrest.

‘It’s an “I can’t breathe” again case in 2020, and it’s worse than Eric Garner in many ways because you hear the people even pleading with them, ‘Please get your knee off his neck, have some humanity, this is a human being,’ Crump told Today.

Without the videos, Crump claimed police likely ‘would’ve given a false narrative and they would’ve swept it under the rug.’

On Tuesday, as news and video of Floyd’s death spread around the world, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand justice and were met with Minneapolis cops in riot gear firing rubber bullets.

Demonstrators carrying placards reading ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘Justice 4 Floyd’ surrounded a police precinct Tuesday night after the disturbing video of 46-year-old Floyd begging the cop to stop before falling unconscious was shared online.

Floyd worked as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro, a local bistro in Minneapolis. The bar’s owners have described him as a ‘very calm, nice guy’ who was not the type to be ‘aggressive’ or ‘disrespectful’.

Gayle King broke down on live TV as she warned that it ‘feels to me like open season’ on young black men in America after footage emerged of the white cop kneeling on the neck of George Floyd who then passed out and died.

King led celebrities and politicians Tuesday in voicing outrage over his death, with many taking to social media demanding the police officers involved are arrested and that the US tackles what many regard as ‘systemic’ racism against young African-American men.

King’s voice broke on CBS This Morning Tuesday after she watched the horrifying footage of Floyd’s death followed by another video of a racist incident in Central Park, New York, where white investment banker Amy Cooper called 911 to report an ‘African-American man threatening her life’ when he simply asked her to leash her dog.

An emotional King said she was ‘speechless’ and that ‘this is really too much for me today’ before she asked her co-hosts to step in to take over talking about the shocking incidents.

‘I don’t even know what to do or how to handle this at this particular time… I am speechless,’ King said, as she holds back tears.

‘Once again, I say thank goodness that there’s video tape. You know, I think as a daughter of a black man and a mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today. I’m still rattled by the last story.’

‘I’m so sorry. I’m still so upset by that last story where the man is handcuffed underneath a car, where people are pleading, ‘Please he can’t breathe,’ and we’re watching a man die,’ she said.

‘So we go from that story now to this story where she falsely accuses a black man on television.’

‘I am really, really speechless about what we are seeing on television this morning,’ King added.

‘It feels to me like open season, and that it’s just not sometimes a safe place to be in this country for black men. And today is too much for me.’

Floyd’s death has sparked outrage across the nation, with politicians and celebrities including Ice Cube, Debra Messing and Martin Luther King III taking to social media to brand the Minneapolis cops murderers and demand they be arrested.

This comes less than a month after footage emerged of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery being shot dead in a street in Georgia by two white men who evaded prosecution for more than two months.

The leak of the video sparked outrage across the nation with LeBron James, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner all leading cries for Travis and Gregory McMichael to be charged with murder.

The father and son duo were only arrested and charged with murder after the video went viral.

Black celebrities led the cries for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd’s death Tuesday, after it emerged four cops had been fired over the incident.

‘How long will we go for Blue on Black Crime before we strike back???’ Ice Cube tweeted.

The rapper then had to defend his use of the words ‘strike back’ when some said he was encouraging vigilantism.

He responded with a follow-up Tweet: ‘Anybody coming at me for what I said ain’t ready to do s**t…’

Ice T also spoke out about Floyd’s death in a series of Tweets.

‘They Killed another Brother.. On Video,’ he wrote.

He followed it up with another post that read: ‘I play a Cop on TV… But I’ll NEVER stop speaking about injustice… EVER. F that.’

Snoop Dogg simply posted a meme showing the white cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck alongside an image of Colin Kaepernick kneeling, saying ‘This is why’.

The post was in reference to the #TakeAKnee protest which has involved some black American athletes kneeling during the US national anthem at sports events in protest against police brutality and racism.

Martin Luther King III also took to social media over the footage with the slogan: ‘Say his name. #GeorgeFloyd #icantbreathe’.

Singers Ariana Grande, Madonna and Justin Bieber also waded into the issue, sharing posts condemning police brutality with their millions of followers.

Grande posted an Instagram story of a black screen with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #justiceforGeorgeFloyd.

‘Justice is not just about specific officers being arrested. It’s about dismantling the systems that make it possible,’ she wrote.

Pop star Bieber posted a photo of the incident and decried it as ‘sick’.

‘This makes me absolutely sick. This makes me angry this man DIED. This makes me sad. Racism is evil We need to use out voice! Please people. I’m sorry GEORGE FLOYD,’ he wrote.

Madonna slammed the police officer responsible for Floyd’s death saying he ‘knew he was being filmed and murdered him with arrogance and pride’.

Will & Grace star Debra Messing uploaded a post that echoed the victim’s family’s pleas that the firing of the four cops does not go far enough to getting justice for the man’s death.

‘#GeorgeFloyd is the African-American man being MURDERED on this video. You watch it happen. With no respect for human life, these cops used unnecessary force on a man who was already detained. They have been fired. I WANT THEM ARRESTED!,’ she tweeted.

Cardi B wrote on social media: ‘Enough is enough! What will it take? A civil war? A new president? Violent riots? It’s tired ! I’m tired ! The country is tired!

‘You don’t put fear in people when you do this you just show how coward YOU ARE ! And how America is really not the land of the free!’

Diddy posted an emoji of praying hands in reaction to the senseless death, while Viola Davis put the racial imbalance of the situation and others like it into perspective.

‘This is what it means to be Black in America. Tried. Convicted. Killed for being Black,’ the Oscar-winner said. ‘We are dictated by hundreds of years of policies that have restricted our very existence and still have to continue to face modern day lynchings.

‘Here’s the thing……America will never be great until we can figure out a way for it to work for EVERYBODY!!!’

Demi Lovato said, ‘I’m tired of typing Rest in Peace … I wish black men could live in peace.’

Halsey said the incident was another example of a broken system with racial imbalances and little consequences for the offenders.

‘Rest in power #GeorgeFloyd an unarmed black man who was murdered by a police officer ON CAMERA,’ the singer said. ‘This system is failing the people it should protect. where is the accountability?’

Bravo’s Andy Cohen said that ‘every American should be outraged at’ seeing the images from the incident, while Jameela Jamil lobbied for the arrests of two of the officers involved in the incident.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay delivered a powerful message on her social media in the wake of the tragic death.

‘You deserved your breath, your dignity, your life,’ DuVernay said. ‘Not to die in the street, murdered by a white cop’s knee on your neck. You deserve our tears, our prayers, our rage, our action.’

She added, ‘We must act – for you – and for all of tho se were no cameras are present. We must. #GeorgeFloyd.’

Actor Billy Baldwin posted a side by side shot of the officer with his knee and NFL’s Colin Kaepernick with the hashtag #ThisIsWhyWeKneel. The Backdraft actor added: ‘If they don’t arrest and convict this cop… things are gonna get real ugly.’

Several politicians have also slammed Floyd’s death and called for action not just over his death but over all incidents of racism and police brutality.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‎ pointed to a systemic issue across America as she said ‘police brutality’ is a ‘leading cause of death for young Black men’.

‘#GeorgeFloyd should be alive. Instead, he was killed as he begged police for his life. The impunity of police violence is a systemic problem we must face to save lives,’ she tweeted.

‘Police brutality is now a leading cause of death for young Black men in the US. The status quo is killing us.’

Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also said there is a ‘systemic’ issue as he pointed to both Floyd’s death and the Central Park case.

He tweeted: ‘The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The racism on display in Central Park. This can’t just continue to be a day in the life in the USA. This is systemic and it won’t change on its own.’

Presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted late Tuesday urging for the FBI to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’ and for the officers to be ‘held responsible for their egregious actions’.