“Please, please, I can’t breathe, officer,” a man pleads, his wrists handcuffed behind his back, his face ground into the pavement. The police officer continues to press his knee into the man’s neck. The man, 46-year-old George Floyd, died later that day. Floyd was black; the cop, white.
But demonstrations later turned tense and sometimes violent. Police fired tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and rubber bullets at demonstrators. Rioters vandalized and looted local businesses. People scaled the walls of a police precinct and set it aflame. The station was evacuated before protesters entered and started the fire.
The fury wasn’t confined to Minneapolis. Protests rippled across the country. Demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles surrounded police headquarters. In Columbus, Ohio, protesters smashed a window of the Statehouse and breached the building. In New York City, more than 70 people were arrested after clashes with police.
In Denver, demonstrators marched onto the interstate, disrupting traffic. Pockets of protesters shattered car windows. Shots were fired at the Colorado State Capitol building, though it’s still not clear whether it was connected to the protests.
In Louisville, Kentucky, protesters chanted “No justice, no peace” for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black health care worker who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville apartment in March. The peaceful protests there also escalated, and at least seven people were shot. Police said no officers discharged their weapons.
The rage over the deaths of Floyd and Taylor may have ignited these uprisings, but the scenes below are a reminder of the pent-up tension and frustration in a country where violence against black people at the hands of police keeps happening.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
Protestors kneeling together on Jefferson Street near the 6th street intersection. Tons of cars following the crowd now too with some parked and just sitting on their cars. pic.twitter.com/yPgrPwLeiU— Cameron Teague (@cj_teague) May 29, 2020