A sixth night of mass demonstrations has enraptured government officials, law enforcement officers and protesters in cities across the United States after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, WashingtonPost reports.
Peaceful protests began in the Twin Cities and rapidly spread to metropolitan areas across rural and urban America, escalating in numbers and force as some demonstrators and law enforcement officers began to clash.
The National Guard was mobilized. Buildings were burned and businesses looted. Civilians have been placed under curfew by government officials and fired upon with rubber bullets, pepper pellets and tear gas by authorities in riot gear. Hundreds have been arrested.
Almost a week after Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, it remains unclear whether tensions nationwide are calming or escalating.
At least five people have been killed in violence that flared as demonstrations in parts of the country devolved into mayhem.
Gunfire rang out from Detroit to Indianapolis, where authorities said people were slain in shootings connected to the protests.
In Omaha, a 22-year old black protester was killed in a struggle with a local business owner on Saturday night.
Police arrested at least 2,564 people in two dozen U.S. cities over the weekend, according to a tally by The Washington Post. Nearly a fifth of those arrests was in Los Angeles.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead prosecutions related to Floyd’s death, Gov. Tim Walz announced. The governor, like Ellison a Democrat, acknowledged many people’s distrust that authorities would bring justice for Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Arizona is enacting a statewide curfew at the request of local leaders, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced Sunday, as dozens of major cities try similar measures to maintain order amid protests that have erupted into chaos at night. Thousands of National Guard troops have been activated in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
A driver who barreled his tanker truck toward protesters filling Minneapolis’s I-35 highway has been arrested, police said. The truck sent crowds running but, police said, did not appear to hit any of the thousands who had gathered.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, on Sunday, denounced the violent actions of some protesters and called for nationwide changes in the criminal justice system.
But, he said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation, “the only thing that can put out these fires is police accountability and equal justice.”