Protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, the African American man killed when a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck.
Video carried live on MSNBC showed flames coming from the 3rd Police Precinct. Reporter and anchor Ali Velshi was on the scene and said, “It’s a brick building. It’s got two parts to it. The part we were standing in front of was the older part of the precinct. There’s a modern sort of addition to it and there are flames coming out of it.”
Fire breaks out as protesters clash with police in front of Minneapolis police precinct at the center of George Floyd's death, @AliVelshi reports. pic.twitter.com/W6NF5tgjq4
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 29, 2020
Local TV station Fox9 reported that officers evacuated the building before protesters made their way inside and set fires.
Protesters filled the streets surrounding the building and appeared to have control of the neighborhood. As the police precinct burned, a large crowd of demonstrators chanted: “What’s his name? George Floyd!”
Demonstrations have erupted across the nation with people taking to the streets in cities demanding change, including in downtown Los Angeles. The anger was sparked by Floyd’s death on Monday night.
Video recorded by an onlooker showed Floyd pleading for his life as officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, applied pressure to his neck with a knee. As minutes passed, Floyd stopped talking and moving.
Related Story: George Floyd’s Family Wants Officers Involved in His Death Charged With Murder
The four officers involved were fired Tuesday after the bystander’s video taken outside a Minneapolis grocery store went viral. Floyd, 46, was handcuffed on the pavement. “I can’t breathe. Please, man,” he said. Bystanders pleaded with the officer to stop.
The Minneapolis Police Department said the officers were responding to a forgery call at the grocery store. Police said Floyd matched the description of a suspect in the case.
The officers alleged Floyd “physically resisted” after he got out of his car, but surveillance video from a nearby Minneapolis restaurant contradicted the police account and showed Floyd appearing to comply with the officers’ commands.
FBI and state law enforcement are now investigating the case. Floyd’s family and many protesters are calling for the officers involved to be brought up on murder charges.