‘America is breathing’: Protests over George Floyd’s death sweep across the country
WASHINGTON, (BM) – Protests over the murder of unarmed George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis swept across America. On Friday, they marched in many states of the country, with many protesters blocking federal highways demanding “justice and retaliation.”
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Trump called the Floyd family “terrific people”
Recall that the 46-year-old Floyd died on Monday after a white policeman threw him face down on the asphalt, sat on top, clasped his neck with his foot and held in this position for several minutes.
Earlier, a store employee called 911 and said that a ‘black man’ paid with fake money. It was about a $ 20 banknote. After the incident, the police released a transcript of the call. “He [Floyd] is sitting in his car because he is very drunk and does not control himself,” the caller said.
US President Donald Trump called the incident “terrible.” The head of the White House said he spoke on the phone with the Floyd family, whose members he called “amazing people.”
This incident provoked the indignation of politicians and the public in the United States, and protests swept almost the entire country after three days of looting and arson in Minneapolis.
On Thursday, the US House Judicial Committee asked the Department of Justice to investigate “systemic police misconduct” after a series of high-profile killings of African Americans by the police in America. Trump said he asked the Department of Justice to expedite the investigation of the George Floyd case. According to former US President Barack Obama, “this should not be normal in America in 2020.”
The White House was blocked
On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House, which was blocked for a short time.
Protesters demanded justice in investigating the circumstances of the death of George Floyd. They waved posters depicting the deceased and chanted: “I can not breathe.” These were his last words, as were those of Eric Garner, a black American who was strangled in a prison in New York in 2014. The US Secret Service blocked the entrances and exits to the White House. After some time, the protesters dispersed. Meanwhile, according to the BBC, fierce clashes between protesters and police have occurred in several U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Louisville, Phoenix, Columbus, and Memphis.
In Atlanta, some buildings were looted by marauders. In addition, a police car was set ablaze when protesters gathered outside CNN’s office. Recall that earlier Minnesota police officers without charge arrested CNN journalist Omar Himines, who broadcast live protests in Minneapolis. The officers took Omar Jimines and three members of his film crew to the police station early on Friday morning. Himines commented on the protester’s detention, which happened before his eyes and right in front of the camera lens when white police officers approached him. After an hour and a half, after the intervention of Governor of Minnesota Tim Walsa, Jimenez and members of the crew were released and continued broadcasting. At the same time, the head of state attracted the National Guard to suppress riots.
Protesters arrived on horseback
In Auckland, California, one part of the protesters organized a rally in the city center, the other blocked the bridge across the bay. At the same time, some protesters came on horseback, The Guardian notes. Demonstrators also blocked Federal Highway 880. In California alone, protesters blocked four major freeways on Friday: 101 south at San Jose, Highway 80 on the Bay Bridge on the Auckland-San Francisco border, and the already mentioned Highway 880 at Auckland and 110 at Highway 110 Los Angeles
Police officer will stand trial
Meanwhile, it became known about the detention of 44-year-old officer Derek Chauvin. He was involved in three fatalities that occurred during the detention of African-Americans.
Minnesota Governor Tim Wals said the arrest is “a good first step towards justice.” 17 complaints from detainees was filed to the same police officer, according to the Associated Press. It was he, witnesses noted, strangled Floyd, despite requests for mercy. He and three other officers who were involved in the detention of Floyd, have already been dismissed from the Minneapolis police. Chauvin will appear at the preliminary court hearings on June 1. He will be charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. However, the protesters want three other officers to stand trial as well.
Meanwhile, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who authorized the arrest of Chauvin, said he was “awaiting charges” for the other three officers, but did not specify any additional details. According to him, the main evidence is the widespread video shot from the witness’s mobile phone, which shows how Floyd is lying face down on the street, and Chauvin presses his neck to the ground with his knee.
Apparently, the punishment for Chauvin will be serious. The prosecutor’s statement said that the officer “acted in a wild way, ignoring human life.” Recall that earlier George Floyd’s brother, Filoniz, on CNN said that he hopes that the police officers who participated in the incident will be executed. “I will never return my brother. They communicated with him worse than with an animal. We need justice,” said Filonis Floyd.
Minnesota authorities, Reuters clarifies, hoped that Chauvin’s arrest would ease public anger and prevent ongoing unrest. But, contrary to the curfew imposed by the Mayor of Minneapolis, at 8 p.m., about 500 demonstrators reappeared near the destroyed building of the Third Section, where the dismissed officers worked. The police, which created a buffer zone two blocks around the police station, were forced to open fire using tear gas, plastic bullets to make the crowd scatter.
According to a forensic expert, George Floyd had serious heart disease. The report said Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds — almost three minutes after the African American stopped showing signs of life.
According to the BBC, a Minnesota police instruction says officers trained to squeeze a detainee’s neck without directly applying pressure to the airways can use the knee in accordance with the “use of force” policy. This, as noted in the instructions, is considered as an option for providing “non-lethal force.”
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