A police station in Minnesota went up in flames late Thursday in a third day of demonstrations as the so -called Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul seethed over the shocking police killing of a handcuffed black man .
The station , which police had abandoned , burned after a group of protesters pushed through barriers around the building, breaking windows and chanting slogans .
A much larger crowd demonstrated as the building went up in flames .
The crowd was protesting the death of George Floyd , a 46-year – old black man , who died after Minneapolis police arrested him on Monday on suspicion of using a counterfeit banknote .
Police handcuffed him and held him to the ground , with a bystander video showing an officer pressing his knee on Floyd ’ s neck .
The videos showed Floyd saying that he couldn ’ t breathe until he went silent and limp .
He was later declared dead .
Hundreds of people had begun marching in Minneapolis in the late afternoon – many wear masks as protection against the novel coronavirus – while in St. Paul , just to the east , police said there was ongoing looting as multiple fires were reported .
But later in the evening a large crowd demonstrated outside the city’ s Third Precinct.
“ Shortly after 10: 00 pm tonight , in the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3 rd Precinct of its staff, ” city police said in a statement .
– Probe underway –
Officials assured angry residents that investigations into Floyd ’ s death were underway , and warned that violence would not be tolerated .
“We know there ’ s a lot of anger .
We know there ’ s a lot of hurt , ” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtel .
“ But we can ’ t tolerate people using this as an opportunity to commit crimes, ” he said .
At the request of both cities , Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called up hundreds of National Guard troops and state police to help with security .
“ George Floyd ’ s death should lead to justice and systemic change , not more death and destruction, ” Walz said .
– Outrage spreads –
Floyd ’ s family demanded the officer and three others who were present , all since fired from their jobs, face murder charges .
“ You know , I want an arrest for all four of those officers tonight .
A murder conviction for all four of those officers.
I want the death penalty , ” Floyd ’ s brother, Philonise Floyd , told CNN.
“ I have not slept in four days , and those officers, they ’ re at home sleeping , ” he said .
“ I can ’ t stand for that . ”
“ But people are torn and hurting because they are tired of seeing black men die , constantly , over and over again . ”
Two African American leaders of national stature , Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton , arrived in Minneapolis and urged more protests.
“ We told the governor you must call a murder a murder, ” Jackson told an audience at the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church .
“ When you put … your foot down somebody’ s neck until they can ’ t breathe no longer , you murdered them , ” he said .
Sharpton said videos were all the evidence needed to arrest the police officers involved .
“ We are going to make sure that this prosecution goes down , ” said Sharpton .
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