Minneapolis in turmoil


Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday (May 27th) called for criminal charges to be brought against the white police officer who was seen in cellphone video kneeling for some eight minutes on the neck of a handcuffed, 46-year-old black man who repeatedly cried out that he couldn't breathe and died in police custody. Frey said, "I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three other police officers who were there with him were fired Tuesday, the day after Floyd's death. Police said Floyd matched the description of someone who tried to pay with a counterfeit bill at a convenience store and that he resisted arrest. 

Protesters demonstrated for a second day Wednesday outside a police precinct, with some throwing rocks and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. There was also reported looting at a few nearby stores, with a fire breaking out in one of them. It was the second day of demonstrations, after protesters marched on Tuesday evening more than two miles from the site of the fatal incident to the precinct, with some damaging property. Police also fired tear gas and rubber bullets then. Some people also showed up outside Chauvin's home Wednesday, where paint was spilled in his driveway and someone wrote "murderer" in chalk. An officer told them Chauvin wasn't there. Hundreds protesting Floyd's death blocked a Los Angeles freeway yesterday and broke windows of California Highway Patrol police cars. An attorney for Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, urged that protests be peaceful, saying, "We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and state Attorney General Keith Ellison promised there would be a thorough and transparent investigation, but didn't back Frey's call for Chauvin's immediate arrest, saying the legal process needs to play out. The FBI is also investigating whether the officers deprived Floyd of his civil rights.President Trump called Floyd's death a, quote, "very, very sad event," and tweeted that he'd asked for the federal probe to be expedited. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said of the officers' firing, "I don't think that's enough," and called Floyd's death "part of an ingrained, systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country."