The Third Police Precinct burns in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Demonstrators demanding justice burned a Minneapolis police station and took control of the streets around it last night, heaving wood onto the flames, kicking down poles with surveillance cameras and torching surrounding stores.
What's happening: The crowd was protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was snuffed out Tuesday by a white Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for about eight minutes.
- Four officers have been fired, but no one has been charged.
- Marq Claxton of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance said on MSNBC that the actions were an effort to "force the world to listen to the cries of a community that feels under siege ... that black men and women are threatened by law enforcement on a daily basis."
For hours, no firefighters or police officers were seen anywhere around the protest.
- TV reporters on the scene said they heard no sirens — just honking by demonstrators.
- People threw fireworks at the flaming precinct, and the crowd cheered.
- A liquor store was engulfed, and CNN reported that a smoke shop and a Target had also been torched.
Explaining officers' retreat, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told a news conference at 1:30 a.m. local time: "As situations started to escalate more and more, as we saw more and more people breach the perimeter, ... it became obvious to me that safety was at risk."
- "Brick and mortar is not as important as life."
An Arby's, boarded up for protection, was broken into and a dozen people swarmed the entrance, MSNBC's Morgan Chesky reported from outside.
- "That is really the scene, block by block, in this part of the city," he said.
The context: Eddie Glaude, chair of Princeton's Department of African American Studies, said the violence reflected distrust of government and police, as the nation copes with a pandemic that has brought massive unemployment and loss of life.
- "We’re on the cusp of a kind of desperation in this country," he said on MSNBC during live coverage of the pandemonium.
The bottom line ... Former NAACP President Ben Jealous said on MSNBC: "This is what it looks like when justice has been denied for a long time."
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.