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Protests, fires rage through the night in Minneapolis

A group of protesters swarmed the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct station on May 29 after officers abandoned the facility. (Video: The Washington Post)

Fires raged through the night in Minneapolis after a group of demonstrators swarmed a police station, which officers had been ordered to abandon as protests intensified in a city rocked by the death of a black man in police custody. Demonstrators breached a door and entered the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station as fires spread, resulting in destruction and further upheaval.

President Trump called the protesters “THUGS,” while suggesting military intervention and warning in a tweet that there could be additional violence if the chaos continued. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” the president wrote. Trump’s tweet was later flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”

The scene in Minneapolis came at the end of a day in which hundreds of peaceful protesters demanded that four now-fired officers be arrested in a case that has generated nationwide outrage. Video captured a white police officer pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck in a banned maneuver as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd later died.

Here are some significant developments:

  • A CNN crew was arrested early Friday while reporting on the protests in Minnesota. CNN said in a statement that the three journalists were arrested “for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves.” Correspondent Omar Jimenez was released from custody and back on the air little more than an hour later, though it was unclear if his colleagues were still detained.
  • The unrest spread from Phoenix to Columbus, as people converged in city centers and descended on state capitol buildings. Gunfire broke out in multiple cities, including Louisville, where authorities say seven people were injured during a protest of the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Shots were also fired at the Colorado statehouse.
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said he ordered police to vacate the Third Precinct before it was overrun by protesters. “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or to the public,” Frey said early Friday, noting that he made the call after learning there “were imminent threats."
  • Frey hit back at Trump, who had called him a “weak Radical Left Mayor” on Twitter. “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell,” Frey said early Friday.
  • Protesters in Minneapolis have noted that the riots that have raged through the city are a natural response to Floyd’s death. “There are folks reacting to a violent system,” said activist Michael McDowell. “You can replace property, you can replace businesses, you can replace material things, but you can’t replace a life.
  • The House Judiciary Committee called on the Justice Department to investigate whether the death of Floyd was part of a “pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct” by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Do you have any photos or videos of George Floyd’s arrest and the protests in Minneapolis? Share them with The Post.