International

Troops deployed after protests over black man’s death

Guarding the streets: Law enforcement officers amassed along a street in Minneapolis early on Friday.

Guarding the streets: Law enforcement officers amassed along a street in Minneapolis early on Friday.   | Photo Credit: David Joles

George Floyd died due to alleged police brutality this week

Hundreds of troops deployed to the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul early Friday after a third night of rioting over police brutality against African Americans left hundreds of shops damaged and a police station on fire. Black leaders continued to express outrage over the videotaped death of George Floyd, 46, while handcuffed on the ground and in custody of Minneapolis police on Monday. He died after one officer kneeled on his neck for more than five minutes.

“People are angry, they are frustrated because this is not the first police killing they have seen around the country,” Al Sharpton, a prominent black rights activist, told MSNBC.

Damage to property

Overnight demonstrators broke through law enforcement barriers to overtake the Minneapolis police station where the four officers blamed for Floyd’s death were based. A fire broke out and soon became an inferno that engulfed the structure.

The State’s National Guard announced the 500 troops were being deployed on Friday morning for peacekeeping amid signs that the anger was nowhere near dissipating. “Our troops are trained to protect life, preserve property and ensure people’s right to peacefully demonstrate,” said Major General Jon Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard.

Protests broke out in several cities across the country, including New York, where dozens of protesters were arrested; Phoenix, Memphis, and Denver.

In Louisville, Kentucky, seven people were hit by gunfire at a protest on Thursday over the death of Breonna Taylor — a black woman who was shot after police entered her home in March. One of those wounded was in critical condition, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department. It is not yet clear who fired the shots. Police urged protesters to “please choose peace,” posting a video message from a member of Taylor’s family asking those in the streets to “go home and be safe and be ready to keep fighting.”

But more protests were expected on Friday, including in Washington and Houston, where Floyd’s family is.

Pressure mounted on Minnesota officials to arrest the four officers blamed for Floyd’s death. A video shows that after being detained on a minor, non-violent charge of using a counterfeit banknote, he was handcuffed, pinned to the ground and one officer held his knee tightly to Floyd’s neck for more than five minutes until he went limp.

Floyd’s family demanded the officer be arrested for murder, but local and federal law enforcement officials said on Thursday they still needed to investigate the case thoroughly.

Reporter held, released

Also, police in Minneapolis released a CNN reporter who was led off in handcuffs while reporting live on television early on Friday following a third night of violent protests in the city over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.

Officers gave no explanation as they escorted CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his camera crew away. His crew had just shown a protester being taken into custody when about half a dozen police officers in gas masks surrounded Mr. Jimenez. The journalists were released about an hour after being arrested. “What gave me one bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV,” Mr. Jimenez told viewers after he was released. “You don’t have to doubt my story. It’s not filtered in any way; you saw it with your own eyes.”

The striking footage of the arrest could add to racial tensions in the city and across the country over the death on Monday of George Floyd. Jimenez is black, while most of the police officers appeared to be white.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 12:19:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/troops-deployed-after-protests-over-black-mans-death/article31707698.ece

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