Pain and anger over the death of George Floyd spilled over into multiple cities across the country hours after the former Minneapolis officer seen in video with his knee on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder.
Demonstrators funnelled their anguish in cities like Atlanta, New York and Washington into chants, signs and outbreaks of violence, smashing windows and setting vehicles ablaze.
In Minneapolis, roughly 1,000 people marched peacefully along the city’s major freeway Interstate 35, hours after a curfew went into effect. One black man held a sign that read, “Am I next?”
Eventually the marchers made it to the 5th Precinct where some demonstrators threw rocks or bottles at police.
In one of the most chaotic protests Atlanta has seen in years, demonstrators smashed windows of police cars outside CNN Center, which houses Precinct 5 of the Atlanta Police Department. At least one squad car was set on fire. Police in riot gear helped other force protesters back to Centennial Olympic Park.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are under a curfew but few people paid attention. Around midnight, the state’s Department of Public Safety tweeted that 350 troopers are near the 5th precinct in Minneapolis to clear the area and enforce curfew.
In Washington, DC, a protest outside the White House briefly caused the building to be placed on lockdown. It has since been lifted and the Secret Service has reopened entrances and exits to the White House campus for both staff and media.
In New York, protesters and police clashed in various incidents Friday night outside the Barclays Center with protestors throwing water bottles, what appeared to be a bottle of paint and more at police officers. At least 12 people were arrested, police said.
Detroit Police have arrested nine people, one of whom tried to run over an officer with a car, Chief James Craig said.
Protests also took place in at least 25 other cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New Orleans.
Floyd’s family is angry about the charges
On Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman charged Chauvin, the fired police officer seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His bail has been set at $500,000.
Floyd’s family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, are upset that Chauvin wasn’t charged with a more serious offense.
“We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested,” Crump and the family said in a statement. “We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer.”
Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds in total, and 2 minutes, 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
Chauvin and three other officers detained Floyd in handcuffs Monday after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said. Outrage grew in the form of protests after a video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed, cried out that he couldn’t breathe.
Freeman said charges against the other three officers are likely.
“We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us. They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably,” he said.
If convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin would face up to 25 years in prison on the first charge and up to 10 years on the second.