ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Violent protests have erupted from coast to coast after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody.
His last moments were caught on video by a bystander, showing a white officer using his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by the neck as Floyd repeatedly groaned that he couldn’t breathe.
He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Protesters are saying enough is enough with police brutality and they want accountability in Floyd’s case.
The four officers involved were identified as Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng — with Chauvin as the officer seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
On Memorial Day, Floyd was arrested for forgery after he allegedly tried to buy items from a deli using a fake $20 bill. Police also claimed that Floyd was under the influence and tried to resist arrest.
Protests turned violent Thursday night in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the metropolitan area where the incident happened. A police station was burned—cars were torched and several stores were reportedly looted and set on fire.
In New York City, protesters came face to face with riot police — leading to the arrest of dozens of people.
In Denver, a car rammed into a protester as the crowd marched on the streets.
And in Los Angeles, thousands blocked one of the major freeways in the heart of Downtown LA in protest. Among them Fil-Am members of Afi3rm, a transnational feminist organization.
They said police brutality does not target just one community.
“We’re seeing a spike in API violence by civilians, if individual people feel compelled to attack API’s —why wouldn’t police feel the same way? They are protected, they have that power and they can act with impunity/ so whether black, Filipino or east Asian, that racism is a threat to all of us,” said Nicole Shrieves.
New reports have surfaced that Chauvin, the policeman seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck, had 18 recorded complaints made against him — including aggressiveness, unprofessionalism and unnecessary use of force.
Chauvin has since been fired from his job, along with the three other officers involved.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a “peacetime emergency” and signed an executive order, activating the National Guard to help control the unrest in his state. The FBI has also stepped in and has now taken over the investigation of Floyd’s death.