On Monday, when Derek Chauvin arrested George Floyd and pinned him to the ground with a knee pressed into his neck, he lit a match. That match fell on a powder keg: the outraged people of Minneapolis. Hours after video surfaced of Chauvin and three other officers arresting Floyd, all four were fired. Protests immediately broke out calling for the arrest of the officers.
Why? Because George Floyd, an otherwise healthy man, died in the hospital after Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for ten straight minutes. Floyd pleaded with the officer, stating that he could not breathe, and telling him that everything hurt. At one point, Floyd, delirious from the pain, cried out for his mother. Onlookers begged Chauvin to get off of the man.
Chauvin eventually lifted his knee from Floyd’s neck. But Floyd had been unresponsive long before he did.
Widespread outrage over Floyd’s death has spilled over into protests across Minneapolis and throughout the country. Protesters, frustrated with both Floyd’s death and police brutality in general, set fire to the 3rd Precinct Police Department in Minneapolis Thursday night. Looting of local businesses has occurred in scattered pockets throughout Minneapolis.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey publicly called for the arrest of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death. At the time of this writing, no charges have been filed against any of the officers.
Aside from Chauvin, the city has not publicly named the other officers who were there.
Protesters in Minneapolis and across the country are rioting against the severe lack of accountability for police officers who use excessive and unnecessary force.
In a related incident, president Donald Trump waded into the controversy on Twitter with a fusillade of angry tweets. In a post that Twitter hid for reportedly violating their guidelines, Trump addresses the protesters and riots.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
After Twitter hid the post, Trump launched into another series of attacks on the platform. In recent days, the president has expressed his frustration with Twitter for adding fact-checking banners to two of his tweets about mail-in ballots.