5 shot during protests over death of Minn. man, one fatally

Several stores were looted, including one where a man was fatally shot, and a police precinct was vandalized

Liz Navratil and Libor Jany
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Thousands of people flooded the streets of Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd by a city police officer for a second night of protests, which escalated into violence with a fatal shooting and at least another four people struck by gunfire.

City and law enforcement officials were still surveying the damage from the second night of demonstrations early Thursday morning. A total of five people were shot Wednesday night, one of them fatally by a pawnshop owner who opened fire on a person he believed to be a burglar.

One suspect is in custody in connection with the incident and authorities said they would identify the victim on Thursday.

Beyond the shooting, there were no known injuries to protesters or police, and no additional arrests, Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said at a news conference early Thursday.

“Tonight was a different night of protesting than it was just the night before,” Elder said

Businesses citywide, particularly those in the area of Minnehaha Avenue and E. Lake Street were, robbed and set ablaze while law enforcement officers relied on rubber bullets and tear gas to quell demonstrations.

Firefighters responded to several blazes throughout the night, including at the AutoZone store at Minnehaha and Lake. First responders mostly contained the flames, but the shop was set ablaze again within a few hours, according to the Tribune. An affordable housing development, currently under construction in the area also, caught fire.

The violence followed a daylong protest outside the Third Precinct police headquarters, where officers sought to disperse crowds with flash-bang grenades, tear gas and projectiles through the day and night.

Earlier, Frey called for the arrest and charging of now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded to breathe.

“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey said. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.”

Frey’s comments came on the second day of widespread protests over Floyd’s death, which occurred shortly after police detained him Monday on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

In addition to the protests near the Third Precinct in Minneapolis, demonstrators also gathered Wednesday at the homes of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and the Oakdale home of Chauvin.

Frey said he was calling for action by Freeman, who has the authority to seek charges in Floyd’s death. “We are working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner to expeditiously gather and review all of the evidence in the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” Freeman’s office said in a statement. “The videotaped death of Mr. Floyd, which has outraged us and people across the country, deserves the best we can give and that is what this office will do.”

State Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said the BCA investigation, which he oversees, is underway. “We will do an expeditious investigation. We will ensure that this is not an investigation that lags,” he said, adding that the department also won’t cut corners to complete its work quickly.

Because the BCA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation, those two agencies have the authority to make an arrest, said police spokesman John Elder. Either agency could arrest any of the four officers at any time if they believe they have probable cause. The BCA would send the case to Freeman’s office for charging, while the FBI would send the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The city identified the officers involved as Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng. Chief Medaria Arradondo fired all four Tuesday. Chauvin, 44, is a 19-year department veteran. Thao is a 12-year veteran. Kueng joined the department in 2017 and Lane in 2019.

Chauvin is represented by attorney Tom Kelly. Thao is represented by Robert Paule, Kueng by Thomas Plunkett, and Lane by Earl Gray. All declined to comment.

Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll did not respond to messages requesting comment and declined to take questions from a reporter at his office. However, he said in a statement provided to Forum News Service before Tuesday’s firings that, “Now is not the time to rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers. We ask that the community remain calm and the investigation be completed in full.”

NEXT: What will investigators look for in the death of George Floyd?

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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