“No justice no peace, prosecute the police” was a chant heard at yesterday’s march and protest demanding that the police who killed George Floyd on Memorial Day go to jail.
Wednesday afternoon Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey apparently agreed with them asking, “Why is the man who killed George Floyd, not in jail? If you had done, or I had done [it], we would be behind bars,” said the mayor at a press conference.
Frey called on the Hennepin County Attorney’s office to charge the officers involved. “Black men have been put in prison before for far, far less,” he said.
Activist and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong echoed this sentiment in a press interview Wednesday morning, saying, “There is no way that this cop won’t go to jail.”
Literally thousands took to the streets of South Minneapolis as they gathered at the site on 38th and Chicago Avenue where Floyd was killed by police. After the rally, the large crowd marched nearly three miles to the Third Precinct police station to voice their displeasure with the police.
Some protesters also picketed in front of the house of the Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, 44, who has been identified as the officer—in the now-viral video—with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
Chauvin was a 19-year veteran who has shot someone in the past while on duty. He shot and wounded Ira Latrell Toles during a domestic violence incident police was called to in 2008. Chauvin was also on the scene in 2006 when Minneapolis police shot and killed Wayne Reyes.
“I’m glad that it didn’t take forever for them to see what everybody else could clearly see took place and that’s that they murdered my cousin,” said Shareeduh Tate, Floyd’s cousin, in an interview with KARE 11 News. She thanked the people who were in the crowd who tried to prevent Floyd from being killed by police.
Floyd’s killing topped news stories Wednesday morning and even talk shows. Meghan McCain on “The View” Wednesday morning said that “People are seeing what was blatantly a murder on camera. It doesn’t seem like this is stopping this; it seems like a national problem.
“These police officers 100% should be on trial for murder. I don’t know how much more communities across the board—not just African Americans—can handle this anymore. It’s just so blatant and egregious.”
Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar was upset about the police response to a near-riot that broke out on Lake Street near the precinct and the Minnehaha Mall yesterday evening. Police fired tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and rubber projectiles to angry young people who spray painted the precinct and trashed a police car. Omar tweeted Wednesday morning, “Shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at unarmed protesters when there are children present should never be tolerated. Ever.
“What is happening tonight in our city is shameful. Police need to exercise restraint, and our community needs space to heal,” she tweeted.
The police response was surprising considering how high tensions are and the stress this city, like others, has been under from the anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was speculation voiced by some of the young protesters that if the cops accidentally killed someone with a projectile, the town would go up in flames.
Niko Georgiades of Unicorn Riot broadcasted live feed late last night showing shattered glass at a transit stop that the police fired directly into.
Georgiades said while he was filming, the police just missed hitting him with a projectile.
Press reports of testimonial from those who knew Floyd have all been overwhelmingly positive. The consensus among friends, family, co-workers, and even his boss and landlord, said that Floyd was a loving, caring man who was full of life and joy.
KMOJ radio personality Nikki Love became friends with Floyd as he served as a bouncer for a show she promoted. “He was a protector,” Love told the MSR. “He was a big guy with a big heart and a kind soul.”
Floyd’s friend, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, grew up together in Houston, TX. He is reportedly on his way to Minneapolis. The two referred to each other as “twins” and brothers because of their resemblance to each other. He wrote on Instagram last night, “I will not keep quiet. All news needs to hear his story and understand the great man he was.”
—Mel Reeves contributed to this story.