Two days after the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a police officer, protesters marched in the streets of at least three major US cities.
In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed Monday, the second night of protests were marked by looting and buildings on fire as crowds of protesters clashed with police, who fired back with tear gas, according to observations from CNN’s team on the scene and police.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who warned Wednesday night of an “extremely dangerous situation” at the protest, urged demonstrators to remain peaceful — a plea echoed by Floyd’s family members.
Early Thursday morning, police said a man was fatally shot near the scene of the protests. One person was arrested and police said they’re investigating the nature of the incident.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of people marched to protest Floyd’s death and police brutality. At one point, some demonstrators attacked a California Highway Patrol car.
“Peaceful demonstrations are a hallmark of our country. Violence is unwarranted and takes away from the message. I urge all of us to protest peacefully for the sake of everyone’s public safety,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.
In Memphis, Tennessee, police responded to a protest in riot gear and at least two people were arrested, CNN affiliate WHBQ reported.
The unrest followed the shock and anger that poured through communities across the country as video of Floyd’s last moments alive began circulating on social media. The 46-year-old man was handcuffed and on the ground as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe while a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck. Three others were also at the scene.
The four officers involved in the man’s death have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. But Floyd’s family say they want murder charges against all four. The mayor of Minneapolis also called for charges against the officer who kept his knee on Floyd as the man begged for help.
“For five straight minutes a white officer on our police department pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was handcuffed, who was no threat and was articulating very clearly how he was impacted, how his physical health was being damaged and how he couldn’t breathe,” Mayor Jacob Frey told CNN Wednesday night.
In an earlier news conference, Frey called for criminal charges to be brought against that officer who was identified by his attorney Tom Kelly as Derek Chauvin. Kelly has not released a statement on Chauvin’s behalf.
“For the last 36 or 48 hours I’ve been asking myself that core underlying question ‘Why is the officer that killed George Floyd not in jail right now.’ And I can’t answer that question,” Frey said Wednesday night.
The other three officers were identified by police as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.
Thomas Plunkett, representing Kueng, said, “At this time, out of respect for Mr. Floyd, we are declining all invitations to discuss these painful events.”
Earl Gray is representing another of the officers involved but has declined to say who his client is. CNN has not determined the attorney for the fourth officer.
Donald Williams, a witness in the incident, told CNN he was about to walk into a store when he noticed commotion. He said he saw Floyd “panting for his life, begging for his forgiveness.”
Williams said Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and that his stomach and nose were hurting.
Williams’ description of events matches a video captured by one bystander in which Floyd can be heard yelling for help, saying, “I can’t breathe,” and that his body was hurting.
At one point Floyd says, “Give me some water or something. Please. Please.”
Williams said he tried to approach an officer and ask what was happening because he noticed Floyd’s nose was bleeding and his “eyes just turning a different color.”
But the officers didn’t give an explanation as to why one police officer’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck and instead told Williams Floyd was “resisting arrest.”
“I said ‘officer, he’s not resisting arrest, you have your knee on him and you have handcuffs on him, he’s detained at this moment,'” he said. One officer responded by saying “this is what drugs do to you,” according to Williams.
Floyd was declared dead at a nearby hospital shortly after. A medics team that responded to the incident worked on an “unresponsive, pulseless male,” according to a Minneapolis Fire Department narrative released by police.
“(Engine) 17 encountered an off-duty firefighter who had witnessed the end of the struggle and witnessed the patient go from struggling to unresponsive on the ground while handcuffed and subdued by (police officers),” the narrative said.
Police have not released bodycam footage
Minneapolis police have not yet released bodycam footage from the officers involved.
But more pieces are coming together from the moments before the man’s death — one coming from surveillance footage from a nearby store that captures Floyd’s initial encounter with police.
Floyd is removed from a car, handcuffed and escorted by officers to a sidewalk and then out of the frame. He does not appear to be resisting arrest.
Bodycam footage was also released by the Minneapolis Park Police — a separate entity from Minneapolis police — which is heavily redacted.
The only visible people are police officers. The officer from the Minneapolis Park Police responded to the scene and assisted the Minneapolis Police Department but the officer was not facing the direction where the incident with Floyd occurred.
In a statement, the Minneapolis Park Police said the officer was about 118 feet away from where Floyd was pinned to the ground and not in a position to intervene.
CNN’s Sarah Moon, Kara Devlin, Sara Sidner, Melissa Alonso, Omar Jimenez, Pierre Meilhan and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.