George Floyd Protests Lead To Tear Gas, Bullets, Looting, Fires

UNITED STATES—On Tuesday, May 26 and Wednesday, May 27, thousands of protestors in various cities across the United States took to the streets in response to the murder of George Floyd on Monday, May 25.

Floyd, 46, was killed in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the victim’s neck for 8 minutes. Demonstrations started peacefully, but gradually grew unruly. 

Protestors carried banners and signs that said “Justice for Floyd,” “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Stop Killing Black People.” They also chanted slogans ranging from “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” to “I can’t breathe!” – Floyd’s last words. The vast majority of participants wore masks.

Police fired rubber bullets at protestors and sprayed tear gas and pepper spray at them too. Some videos show that the demonstrators were only maced after they threw bottles and other items at police officers. 

Protestors on Wednesday participated in widespread looting and fire-setting throughout Minneapolis. A KARE11 on-site reporter said that AutoZone, Target, Cub Foods, and Dollar Tree outlets suffered visible damage. A fire broke out at the AutoZone and protestors began lighting more fires in the streets.

A 911 call was made to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) reporting a stabbing in the Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street area at 9:05 p.m. A pulseless adult male was found and transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. It was also discovered that he had been shot, not stabbed; the MPD has launched a death investigation.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was prompted to call for the Minnesota National Guard due to the rapid escalation of the situation. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz posted the following Tweet:

“The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.”

In Memphis, Tennessee, law enforcement in riot gear had to block part of Union Avenue and set up extra barricades due to the size of the local protest. Demonstrators were present for almost 6 hours in support of both Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a Kentucky EMT who was shot dead after a warrant was served inside her apartment. Two people were arrested.

Black Lives Matter orchestrated a protest in Los Angeles that progressed downtown and led to the closure of City Hall. ABC 7 News estimated that 500 to 1,000 people participated in the L.A. demonstrations.

Some of these protestors marched along the 101 Freeway and swarmed a California Highway Patrol (CHP) cruiser. The vehicle attempted to flee, but a demonstrator shattered the rear window with a board. Several protestors climbed onto the car hood but fell off. One individual appeared to have hit his head and remained motionless on the ground. Another CHP vehicle attempted to intervene, but sped away after it was also surrounded and had a window broken.

According to reports, when authorities attempted dispersing the crowd, a driver caused a hit-and-run accident, resulting in a stampede. An American flag was lit on fire during the march.