Protestors reportedly took control of the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) 3rd Precinct late Thursday night in apparent retribution over the death of George Floyd earlier this week.
“They have lost all control over the city,” an independent media reporter noted just after 11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 10:00 p.m. in Minneapolis.
Multiple fires were said to have been set inside the midwestern city’s police building after it was overrun by a coalition of inter-generational and multiracial protestors. Fire crews were reportedly not responding.
The fire at the MPD’s 3rd Precinct was only at one corner 5 minutes ago. It’s now spread across the entire building. With no firefighters on scene… that building will likely be destroyed tonight. pic.twitter.com/t6p3Yv1KYV
— Seth Kaplan (@Seth_Kaplan) May 29, 2020
The precinct in question formerly employed the four MPD officers present during or immediately before Floyd’s death. None as of Thursday night had been charged with a crime. Official autopsy reports have not been released because the county medical examiner’s office says toxicology tests are needed.
Recent footage unearthed by NBC News shows that three MPD officers used force against Floyd in the moments before his death. Over the past week, various videos have circulated which showed since-fired officer Derek Chauvin sharply pressing his knee into Floyd’s throat as he lay dying–crying out that he could not breathe.
Independent media outlet Unicorn Riot, which has been described as “left-wing,” live-streamed the precinct’s takeover. Its footage showed a series of fires set as police appeared to abandon the publicly-owned building in South Minneapolis.
MPD has maybe abandoned the 3rd Precinct? People just broke in and fires being lit in multiple rooms pic.twitter.com/nHAMPyJFq1
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) May 29, 2020
Other tweets appeared to confirm the MPD’s loss of the station to protestors incensed at what many believe to be the department’s killing of Floyd and Hennepin County’s perceived slow response over whether to bring criminal charges against the officer(s) who were present at or immediately before Floyd’s death.
“Protesters are now inside the third precinct in Minneapolis, which appears to have been abandoned by the police,” noted St. Paul, Minn. Pioneer Press reporter Nick Woltman. “Others in the crowd are encouraging them to burn it down.”
The third precinct and Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits in Minneapolis are now on fire. pic.twitter.com/UlM1U6ZkO8
— Nick Woltman (@nickwoltman) May 29, 2020
“For the moment at least, the protesters are firmly in control of the Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street intersection, where they’re celebrating with fireworks after overrunning the third precinct and setting it ablaze,” Woltman noted just before midnight Eastern time.
Libor Jany, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune verified that police gave up the station house to the aggrieved rioters.
“And just like that, the MPD has surrendered its 3rd Precinct police station to protesters: ‘Airing information citywide, the 3rd Precinct has been compromised.'”
And just like that, the MPD has surrendered its 3rd Precinct police station to protesters: “Airing information citywide, the 3rd Precinct has been compromised.”
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) May 29, 2020
A police station in a major U.S. city: https://t.co/F63IbLYw7f
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) May 29, 2020
Unicorn Riot reporters repeatedly surveyed participants in the potlatch of destruction-style blaze that erupted after the rioters took control over and trashed the 3rd Precinct building.
Asked what it meant to be there, one man said: “Just being black.”
“No justice, no peace. I’m trying to get justice for my brother,” another said. “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
As the long night drifted into the early morning in South Minneapolis, and with the 3rd Precinct burning, the increasingly larger crowd chanted Floyd’s dying words: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe . . . ”
This is a developing story.
[Image via screengrab/Nick Woltman/Twitter]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]