Riots erupt in Minneapolis as thousands demand police face arrest over death of black man

27 May 2020, 10:20 | Updated: 27 May 2020, 15:05

A small number of protesters turned volatile in a protest against the death of George Floyd
A small number of protesters turned volatile in a protest against the death of George Floyd. Picture: Getty

By Kate Buck

Protests have broken out in Minneapolis after a black man died in police custody after footage showed an officer kneeling on his neck despite his pleas he could not breathe.

George Floyd, 46, died on Monday, after officers stopped him believing him to match the description of a man who had forged a document at a local Deli.

Hundreds took to the streets of the city on Tuesday demanding justice for Mr Floyd, after video shared online of the arrest showed him pleading with an officer who was kneeling on his neck.

A handcuffed-Mr Floyd can be herd pleading with the officer: "Please, please, please, I can't breathe. Please, man".

But the officer remained kneeling on his neck for around eight minutes, even after Mr Floyd became motionless.

George Floyd died on Monday after being arrested by police
George Floyd died on Monday after being arrested by police. Picture: Facebook
Protesters carried signs of Mr Floyd's last words
Protesters carried signs of Mr Floyd's last words. Picture: Getty
The majority of participants were peaceful
The majority of participants were peaceful. Picture: Getty

Four police officers have since been fired, although calls have been mounting for one of them to face criminal charges over Mr Floyd's death.

Crowds gathered on the same stretch of road where Floyd was arrested, with many crying out "it could have been me", and "I can't breathe!"

Signs carried by protesters criticised police, with some reading "Killer KKKops", and many others bearing the words "I can't breathe".

But despite organisers asking for this to be a peaceful event, a small splinter group broke off and headed towards the police station where it is believed the police officer's involved worked.

Police cars were vandalised and a window was broken, prompting officers to respond using riot gear and using tear gas on the demonstrators.

But the scene turned chaotic after police responded with riot gear
But the scene turned chaotic after police responded with riot gear. Picture: Getty
Protesters gathered outside the police station where the officers involved are believed to have worked
Protesters gathered outside the police station where the officers involved are believed to have worked. Picture: Getty

Mr Floyd's death is now being investigated by the FBI.

On Tuesday morning Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, apologised to Jacob Frey's family and said he "should not have died".

“For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man,” he added.

“For five minutes. This officer failed in the most basic human sense.

In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect's neck is allowed under the department's use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway. It is considered a "non-deadly force option," according to the department's policy handbook.

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