A demonstrator confronts police officers on Saturday at a rally in Columbia, South Carolina, to protest the death in police custody of George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after police held him on the ground, with one officer pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. SAM WOLFE/REUTERS
Protests erupted in cities across the United States on Friday and Saturday over the death in police custody of George Floyd.
The violence－which included looting, the setting of fires and at least five deaths－led governors to deploy National Guard troops in states including Minnesota, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Utah and Texas, as well as Washington, DC, as of Saturday evening.
The National Guard was activated in the nation's capital to assist police officers handling protests around the White House, according to a statement by the DC National Guard.
"The DCNG is always ready to assist district and federal agencies to protect human life and property," Major General William Walker said in the statement.
More than 25 cities in 16 states had imposed curfews as of Saturday.
Floyd, who was black, died after police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was pinned to the ground following his arrest on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Chauvin was fired on Tuesday along with the three other officers involved in the incident. He was taken into custody on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd's death fueled anger across the nation. Protests first turned violent in Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday, resulting in looting and burning.
Despite mobilization of the National Guard, Minneapolis saw more violence, clashes with police and destruction of property on Friday night.
Violent protests erupted in many other cities also and continued into the weekend.
In St. Louis, Missouri, one protester died after becoming caught between the two trailers of a truck as it drove away, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
In Oakland, California, an estimated 7,000 people gathered outside the city's police headquarters on Friday, and vandalism, looting and arson were reported across the city.
LAFD firefighter extinguishes a small street fire during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. [Photo/Agencies]
Also in Oakland, one federal security officer was fatally shot and another critically wounded a few blocks away from an anti-police protest on Friday night in what Department of Homeland Security officials described as an act of domestic terrorism, according to The Mercury News.
The officials said at a news conference on Saturday that the two federal protective officers were targeted by an "assassin" outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, authorities were investigating "multiple shootings", including one that left a person dead, on Saturday amid protests, the Associated Press reported. Police later tweeted that no officers were involved.
In Detroit, Michigan, a 21-year-old man died after being shot during protests late on Friday, the city's police department said, according to CNN. A police statement said an unknown suspect fired shots into a vehicle and the victim later died at a hospital.
On Wednesday, one person died in Minneapolis during a protest.
In Atlanta, the CNN building was among properties vandalized by protesters on Friday evening. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeted on Friday night that he had declared a state of emergency and activated the Georgia National Guard to "protect people and property" following a request from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms.
Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, who was out of town to attend to his dying mother, had to return to the city on Friday to deal with the violence.
LAPD officer aims a nonlethal weapon during a confrontation with protestors following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. [Photo/Agencies]
"Burning buildings with people inside, stealing from small and large businesses, threatening and harassing reporters. All in the middle of a pandemic where people have already lost everything. This isn't calling for meaningful change in our communities, this is disgusting," Wheeler tweeted.
In Philadelphia, 13 police officers were injured by protesters and at least four police cars were set on fire. At least six people were arrested.
In New York City, trash was set on fire and a police van was attacked by people who sprayed paint on it and broke the windows. The New York Police Department had made more than two dozen arrests related to the protests by Saturday evening.
In Los Angeles, a police car was set on fire on Saturday afternoon. Police were seen swinging batons and firing rubber bullets at protesters as they tried to push back demonstrators.
In Houston, where Floyd grew up, protests also turned violent on Friday night. Police officers were injured and more than 100 people were arrested.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner activated the city's Office of Emergency Management to ensure that employees in various offices were prepared to respond. Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed 1,500 Department of Public Safety officers to four Texas cities, including Houston.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz urged residents to stay home during a briefing on Saturday. He activated the Minnesota National Guard and declared an 8 pm curfew.
Walz said a spike in COVID-19 cases is likely following the protests of the past few days.
- Protests enter sixth day across the US.
- At least 40 cities in more than 20 US states and Washington DC have imposed curfews.
- As of Sunday morning, approximately 5,000 National Guard members have been activated in 15 states and Washington DC, with another 2,000 prepared to activate if needed.
- The officer who pressed his knee onto Floyd's neck for several minutes has been charged with murder, but protesters are demanding the other three officers at the scene be prosecuted.