A third day of protests in Minneapolis over the death of 46-year old George Floyd erupted into a night of violence, with looting, fires, shootings, and even kidnappings reported to authorities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Protests in other cities saw violence as well, including a protest over the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky where seven people were injured after shots were fired from within the crowd.
An LMPD spokeswoman confirmed that one of the victims was in critical condition. She also said several arrests had been made. What remains unknown is who was shot and by whom, as well as the names of those who were arrested.
In a statement released early Friday morning, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said five of those victim would recover and two underwent surgery.
“Last night and early this morning protesters took to the streets in downtown Louisville to express their deep frustration about the Breonna Taylor case. While the situation is still unfolding, we know that were several hours of peaceful protest before some in the crowd turned violent, leading to seven people being people shot from within the crowd. Five are in good condition; two were sent to surgery. My prayers are with all of them. No officers fired their weapons, and my thanks go to the police officers who, despite risk to themselves, got aid to those injured.
I feel the community’s frustration, the anger, the fear. But tonight’s violence and destruction is not the way to solve it.
Breonna’s death was a terrible tragedy. But, as Breonna’s family said tonight, answering violence with violence is not the answer. Gunfire and vandalism does not advance our cause – and it cannot be tolerated.
I support protesters’ First Amendment rights to share their frustrations, in a peaceful manner.
In Minneapolis, the police department’s Third Precinct was assaulted by rioters for hours Wednesday evening before police fled the outpost. Shortly thereafter, the precinct went up in flames, along with several nearby businesses. While the burning of the police station was caught on multiple livestreams and local TV feeds, there were scores of reports of looting and violence throughout the city that played out off-camera.
In north Minneapolis overnight, a woman’s body was found in a car, prompting a death investigation. Police say there were signs of trauma on the body, which was found at the intersection of Bryant and 17th avenues. This could be the second fatal incident connected with the nights of unrest in the city.
St. Paul was spared from the chaos Wednesday night, but that all changed Thursday. The St. Paul Police Department said more than 170 businesses were looted or damaged Thursday, and dozens of fires were set. But there were no serious injuries reported in the city. Fires continued to burn in the city early Friday morning, with the largest one at Big Top Liquor near Snelling and University avenues, nearby Allianz Field.
Because of the sheer amount of chaos on the streets of Minneapolis and surrounding cities on Thursday night, it’s hard to get a handle on the totality of violence, but WCCO reports that one person was shot early Thursday evening at a Walgreen’s pharmacy just a few blocks away from the Third Precinct, and there were unconfirmed reports on Twitter from an account that monitors local police and fire scanners indicating at least one attempted home invasion late Thursday night.
3100 block penn nomi section home invasion 20-30 trying to gain entry to an occupied residence #Mplsriot2020
— Hennepin County Police & Fire monitoring (@HCP_FM) May 29, 2020
By early Friday morning, hundreds of local and state police, along with the Minnesota National Guard, began working to clear the streets of protesters, which led to the arrest of a CNN crew during a live report.
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
The crew was briefly detained before being released after Gov. Tim Walz intervened.
Peaceful protests in Columbus turned violent when some involved began throwing objects at police officers. Police responded by using tear gas to push the crowd back. The crowd let up, but an hour later the protest escalated when demonstrators smashed windows at the Ohio Statehouse while some went inside the building.
SWAT arrived on the scene soon after the Statehouse break-in. Officers used a loudspeaker to announce an emergency was declared in the area, meaning any protesters who refused to leave would be arrested.
The biggest immediate question at the moment is “what happens this weekend?” Will the increased presence of law enforcement deescalate the riots in Minneapolis, or will they add more fuel to the fires? Will the pleas of family members of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to conduct protests peacefully sink in or fall on deaf ears? We’ll know in a few hours when the sun goes down, but at the moment, unfortunately, I’m not particularly optimistic about the prospects for peace in the streets.