Protests against the use of excessive force by law enforcement have surfaced around the country, including in Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, Louisville, and Columbus, following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was arrested on suspicion of forgery and pinned to the ground by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was later pronounced dead at a regional hospital.
The incident follows a series of deaths of unarmed black individuals this year, including 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Kentucky, home in March, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in an Atlanta, Georgia, neighborhood before being shot by two white men in February.
Both Arbery’s and Floyd’s deaths received national attention after videos of the incidents went viral on social media.
While many of the protests started off peaceful in nature, some crowds in Minneapolis and other cities escalated to looting and in Minneapolis resulted in the burning of a Target and a police precinct building. Law enforcement response has included the use of tear gas and widespread arrests, including that of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who was reporting live on air during the civil unrest.
The action on the part of the Minneapolis Police Department is a stark contrast to previous use of force in other demonstrations, including the anti-lockdown protests weeks prior, where many of the demonstrators were armed white men.
Following the events, President Trump made a call on Twitter that appeared to suggest he might use violent force to end the protests, saying: “once the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
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