• Thomas Parker

Protests accompanied by riots erupt across the U.S.

Protests organized across the United States in the wake of George Floyd being killed by police while in custody were accompanied by riots and looting in many large municipalities.

Three of the police officers involved in Floyd's arrest have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Charges brought by the State of Minnesota allege that the officers failed to intervene when 19-year police veteran Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes, all while Floyd and the crowd pleaded with them and said that he could not breathe.

Chauvin himself is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Charging documents show that Thomas Lane, one of the arresting officers, asked twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side and was rebuffed by Chauvin. Alexander Kueng took Floyd’s pulse and told his colleagues, “I couldn’t find one,” according to the criminal complaint.

Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for about two minutes after Kueng’s remarks, the charges state.

Violent confrontations took place between police and citizens in several major cities, but peaceful protests continue into the weekend following a memorial service for Floyd on Thursday.

Following the arrival of the national guard in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, violence and looting abated, but the city has suffered at least $55 million in property damage from rioting and looting, with at least 220 buildings set ablaze since Floyd's death.

Health officials are concerned about a potential spike in coronavirus cases following the mass public gatherings. New outbreaks threaten to undo all the sacrifices made from March until now as social distancing orders are ignored by protesters.

"Based on the way the disease spreads, there is every reason to expect that we will see new clusters and potentially new outbreaks moving forward," US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned this week.

Local reforms in Minneapolis seem inevitable. Several City Councilmembers committed to making changes, and Jeremiah Ellison said on Twitter that he will "dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department," and that the City will "dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will ask the state and the federal government for financial support to help repair the city.

"We're going to need a really big package," Frey said during a tour of the wreckage.

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