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.
May 29, 2020 at 7:52 AM EDT

CNN reporter, crew arrested live on air

CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew were arrested on air early Friday as they reported on the protests.

A Minnesota State Police officer said the journalists were arrested because they were told to move and didn’t, according to CNN. Jimenez is seen and heard on camera before his arrest identifying himself and his crew as reporters and saying, “We’re getting out of your way” and “put us back where you want us. Just let us know.”

After Jimenez was zip-tied by his wrists and led away, an off-camera crew member said: “We were just out here reporting the closing of the streets. Omar was just arrested. I believe we’re all about to be arrested.”

The arrest, which happened during CNN’s “New Day,” shocked hosts Alysin Camerota and John Berman.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Berman said.

Police continue to arrest crew members until the cameraman was left. It’s unclear whether police were aware that CNN’s camera continued to roll as they carried it away.

CNN political reporter Abby Phillip noted that her other colleague on the scene, who is white, was not arrested.

“He just reported that police approached him, asked him who he was with, he said CNN,” Phillip said via Twitter. “And they say “ok, you’re good.” This is minutes after Omar, who is black and Latino, was arrested nearby.”

CNN said in a statement on Twitter that the arrest was a First Amendment violation and demanded the reporters’ release.

“A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights,” the company said. “The authorities in Minnesota, [including] the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) soon apologized for the incident, calling it “totally unacceptable,” according to CNN. Jimenez was released little more than an hour later, though it was unclear if his colleagues were still detained.

By Kim Bellware
May 29, 2020 at 7:07 AM EDT

Twitter flags Trump for ‘glorifying violence’ after he says Minneapolis looting will lead to ‘shooting’

As protests over the death of George Floyd intensified in Minneapolis on Thursday night, President Trump slammed the demonstrators as “THUGS” on Twitter, threatening military intervention if the situation worsens and suggesting more looting would lead to “shooting.”

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, adding, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Critics condemned Trump’s tweet, asserting that he was promoting violent retaliation against protesters, and Twitter took swift action, flagging the post for violating rules about glorifying violence. The move is likely to exacerbate the fight between Trump and Twitter this week first sparked by the platform’s decision to place fact-checking labels on two of his erroneous tweets. On Thursday, after days of raging against social media companies, Trump signed an executive order that could punish them for how they police content.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Friday.

Read more here.

By Allyson Chiu and Timothy Bella
May 29, 2020 at 6:40 AM EDT

Biden says country won’t heal without addressing ‘underlying injury’

Former vice president Joe Biden said Thursday night that the country must address the “older and deeper” problem of police brutality against minorities to heal from the “open wound” caused by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

“People all across this country are enraged and rightly so,” Biden said at the outset of a virtual fundraiser. “Every day, African Americans go about their lives with constant anxiety and trauma of wondering, ‘Will I be next?’ Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not.”

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Floyd’s death in his encounter with police “ripped open anew this … ugly underbelly of our society.” He said the officers involved must be held accountable.

“You know, if we’re not committed as a nation, with every ounce of purpose in our beings, not just to binding up this wound in hope that somehow the scab once again will cover things over, but to treat the underlying injury, we’re never going to eventually heal,” he said.

Biden’s remarks came at the outset of a fundraising concert that included musicians David Crosby, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Walsh and Jimmy Buffett. It was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

By John Wagner
May 29, 2020 at 6:03 AM EDT

‘A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’: Young protesters seize the chance to be heard in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — A predominantly young group of protesters descended on the city’s Third Precinct, which had been evacuated by authorities on Thursday night, setting fire to the structure as numerous looters searched smoke-filled hallways for souvenirs.

C’Monie Scott, 22, held up a gun belt complete with dangling handcuffs in one hand, and screamed into a megaphone, “F--- the police!” Scott said none of it would be happening if the city had quickly moved to prosecute the officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

“My people are only doing this because there is no justice,” Scott said. “Before this happened, we have never gone this far. This is on you guys. We’re three days in, sleep-deprived, dehydrated, hungry, and he still hasn’t been charged.”

As Scott spoke at 1:30 a.m., the second of four stolen postal vans sped through the intersection of East Lake Street and Minnehana Avenue. With one van having already been flipped over and set on fire, another vehicle, hot-wired and piloted by a 19-year-old community college student, would soon crash into the flaming wreckage.

The driver, who asked to be identified as Muhammad, said he was a student at Century College in White Bear Lake and had been studying to become a police officer until this week, when the weight of Floyd’s death and his friends’ disapproval of his career choice swung his ambition.

“I initially did it because it was a childhood dream, but there’s a lot better things I could do,” he said. “This irritated me so much. It’s clear cut. What more evidence could you possibly need?”

Self-appointed field medics used supplies from Target to treat the injured, including Muhammad, who lacerated his finger in the van heist and had a piece of glass wedged in the sole of his foot.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Cause mayhem. Be heard.”

By Robert Klemko
May 29, 2020 at 3:53 AM EDT

‘We’re actually taking action, showing our anger’: Protester justifies setting fire to police station

Forest McClarron has heard the cries for peace and the claims that the escalating protests in Minneapolis will only engender more violence. But the 32-year-old in a red bandanna and black face mask doesn’t buy it.

Standing in front of the fires burning outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct station, which protesters stormed after police fled on Thursday night, he said peaceful protests no longer cut it.

“It’s always been peaceful before,” the Minneapolis resident said. “This is the first time I feel like we’re actually taking action, showing our anger.”

Protesters stormed the station, he said, to send an unequivocal message: The police weren’t welcome in their neighborhood.

“We can’t have them back here. We gotta show them we mean business. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “They’re corrupt, the Minneapolis Police Department.”

McClarron rejected any claims that property destruction and clashes with police devalues the demands for justice for George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for minutes.

“I’d describe it as unity, it’s beautiful,” he said of the scene at the burning police station. “People are saying that it’s dividing us, but I feel like it’s bringing us together.”

By Tim Elfrink and Jared Goyette
May 29, 2020 at 3:03 AM EDT

‘Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis’: Mayor swipes back at president’s tweets

Appearing emotional at an early-morning briefing with reporters, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) hit back at President Trump, who called Frey a “weak Radical Left Mayor” on Twitter and threatened to deploy military force if he didn’t “bring the City under Control” as a third straight night of protests rocked the area.

“Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your own finger at someone else during a time of crisis,” Frey said at a Friday morning news conference. “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell.”

The mayor added: “Is this a difficult time period? Yes, but you better be damn sure we’re going to get through this.”

Frey said it was his decision on Thursday night to order police to leave the 3rd Precinct station, which was later overrun by those protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for minutes. The protesters later set fires outside the police building and broke inside.

Frey said he made the call after learning there “were imminent threats to both officers and the public."

“The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or to the public. We could not risk serious injury to anyone, and we will continue to patrol the 3rd Precinct entirely,” he said. “Brick and mortar is not as important as life.”

Frey condemned looters who have struck dozens of businesses around Minneapolis. “What we have seen in the last several hours and past couple of nights in terms of looting is unacceptable. Our communities cannot and will not tolerate it,” he said.

By Tim Elfrink and Timothy Bella
May 29, 2020 at 2:09 AM EDT

‘These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd’: Trump lashes out at Minneapolis protesters

President Trump slammed the protesters in Minneapolis who breached a police precinct in response to the death of George Floyd, calling the demonstrators “THUGS,” suggesting military intervention and warning that there would be additional violence if looting continued.

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted around 1 a.m. Friday. He added, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.”

The president, in promising the U.S. military would take control of the situation if it escalated, added, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Trump blamed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) for the city’s 3rd Precinct building getting overrun by protesters. He said the mayor needed to “get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”

It’s unclear what Trump was referencing, as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) had already activated the National Guard earlier in the day, with more than 500 soldiers sent to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. While federal troops can provide logistical support in cases of national emergency, they cannot be used to enforce the law.

Trump indicated that he spoke with Walz, tweeting that he assured the governor that “the Military is with him all the way.”

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted.

The president’s message toward the protesters was met with backlash early Friday. Several observers noted that the phrase, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” was coined by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967, who vowed violent reprisals on black protesters.

By Timothy Bella
May 29, 2020 at 12:59 AM EDT

City of Minneapolis warns people to retreat from breached police precinct, warning of potential explosion

The City of Minneapolis warned people close to the police precinct that’s been breached by protesters that they should retreat from the area, citing reports suggesting an explosion was possible.

“We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted around midnight local time. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”

As news of the warning spread on the ground, some people began to move away from the precinct. Protesters also worried that a liquor store engulfed in flames across the street could blow up.

The city’s warning came shortly after a group of demonstrators protesting the police and their role in the death of George Floyd swarmed the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station after officers abandoned the facility. Demonstrators breached a door and entered the station as fires spread outside.

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department said that officers had left the precinct building “in the interest of the safety of our personnel.”

Videos and images of the breached police precinct were widely shared on social media as the protests continued deep into the night.

By Timothy Bella and Jared Goyette
May 29, 2020 at 12:08 AM EDT

Minneapolis protesters breach police precinct, set fires outside

A large group of protesters breached the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station just after 11 p.m. Thursday after officers evacuated the building.

Some demonstrators entered the station as others set fires outside, launched fireworks and chanted “No Justice, No Peace.” Video from inside the building showed demonstrators walking through empty hallways as fire sprinklers soaked desks and office chairs.

A large fire later engulfed barricades outside the precinct and spread into the front of the building. Some protesters grabbed wooden barricades and used them to try to batter open the station’s windows, which are covered with plywood.

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department said its officers had left the building “in the interest of the safety of our personnel.”

By midnight, hundreds of demonstrators had gathered outside, with no sign of police nearby.

By Tim Elfrink and Jared Goyette
May 28, 2020 at 11:54 PM EDT

‘These are folks reacting to a violent system’: Minneapolis activist says the riots feel like an ‘uprising’

Walking down Interstate 35W in Minneapolis, Michael McDowell says the crowds gathered to protest the death of George Floyd are the people who’ve been unheard.

Shirtless and wearing a white face mask, McDowell, an activist and founder of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, evoked Martin Luther King Jr. in noting how 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 McDowell. “You can replace property, you can replace businesses, you can replace material things, but you can’t replace a life. That man is gone forever because some cop felt like he had the right to take his life. A lot of folks are tired of that. They’re not going to take it anymore.”

That’s why, he said, “Minneapolis is burning.” Reflecting on the violent images and scenes that have come out of Minneapolis this week, McDowell said there was no controlling a community reacting to the violence like they saw in the video of Floyd’s final moments, comparing what he’s seen to “an uprising.”

He emphasized that he supports the violence that’s unfolded at local businesses.

“I don’t think that folks are being anywhere as violent as the system has been toward them,” he said. “At the end of the day, people still have their life. They can rebuild all that s---.”

By Timothy Bella and Jared Goyette
May 28, 2020 at 11:16 PM EDT

Videos capture driver swerving in seeming attempt to hit protester in Denver

Video footage captured a car plowing through a crowd of protesters who gathered in downtown Denver amid outrage over the death of George Floyd, then swerving in what looks like an attempt to hit one person who ran away.

Denver resident Annabel Escobar, who posted her clip of the harrowing moment to Twitter, told The Washington Post that she went out Thursday afternoon — like thousands around the country — to call for criminal charges for the officers involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest Monday. The 29-year-old elementary school teacher was heartbroken watching Floyd’s body go limp in viral video as an officer knelt on his neck.

Demonstrations in the Colorado capital were peaceful at first, she said, as she rallied with friends.

Then there were reports of shots fired toward the Capitol where crowds were demonstrating. Police said there were no known injuries.

And then there was the driver who did not stop as protesters headed back toward Capitol blocked her way, Escobar said. One protester, Escobar said, jumped up on the front of the car to avoid getting run over.

He quickly hopped off and ran away in her footage. But then the car turned right and accelerated toward him.

“Watch out!” someone yelled amid screams, as the man dove to the side. People rushed toward the car as it sped off.

“She was laughing,” Escobar said of the driver, calling the woman’s swerve “a vicious act.”

Escobar said she spoke later with the man, whom she does not know, and he said he was “fine.” The police have been notified, she said.

The Denver Police Department did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the incident Thursday night.

By Hannah Knowles
May 28, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT

Demonstrators in Chicago demand justice in George Floyd’s death

In Englewood, on Chicago’s far South Side, about 100 people gathered at a street corner with a banner declaring, “demand justice.”

Small walking protests have been happening in the neighborhood throughout the day. Two men, Sam Thomas, 25, and Robert Laster, 26, spent the afternoon walking from downtown to their neighborhood while dragging the U.S. flag behind them. At the protest, after hours of being pulled along city sidewalks, the flag is dirty and crumpled, a symbol of how both men say they feel about their country in the wake of police killings of unarmed black men.

“It’s unfair how they treat us, that’s why we walk around and drag it,” Thomas said. “We got to let our presence be known. We don’t need this government which won’t stand up for innocent people.”

For Thomas, watching George Floyd die on video under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was bad enough because he said Floyd looked “like a family member.”

“That hurt,” he said. “That could have been my uncle."

Laster said as disturbing as the Floyd video was, he was even more disturbed that “nobody stopped anyone from killing our people.”

Nora, 20, and Kobie, 22, who asked to not be identified by their last names, have been following the different protests on Twitter because they want to support the message.

The police shootings “won’t change unless [the police] see people wanting change,” Kobie said. “They think it’s okay to kill us.”

For Nora, Floyd’s killing reminded her of names like Eric Garner, the black man killed by a New York City police officer in 2014, and, closer to home, Laquan McDonald, a Chicago teenager fatally shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke that same year. She doesn’t expect justice meted out to the four Minnesota police officers involved in Floyd’s death because of the sentence Van Dyke received.

“Even if [they] go to trial, it will be a question if they’ll be held accountable,” she said.

Both say they have no hope that anything will change. “Most definitely not,” said Kobie. For Nora, nothing will change “unless [the protests] get real violent or something bad happens. Then maybe.”

By Mark Guarino
May 28, 2020 at 10:22 PM EDT

Intense standoff between police and protesters unfolds in St. Paul

An intense standoff between police and protesters unfolded Thursday night in St. Paul, near the University Avenue tire store where an officer’s car was smashed earlier.

The situation in St. Paul saw protesters approaching police with their hands up. Soon, officers began firing rubber bullets into the crowd. Officers would then close in from the street, causing demonstrators to run into nearby neighborhoods as tear gas was released into the crowds.

C’Monie Scott, 22, has been out protesting for the last two days. She said she joined the crowd in St. Paul on two hours of sleep.

“I’ve seen the video,” she said. “Honestly, it had me and my girlfriend in tears.”

She added, “You wouldn’t hear a grown man cry for his mama unless he knew he was going to lose his life.”

By Tarkor Zehn
May 28, 2020 at 10:07 PM EDT

More than 40 protesters arrested in Manhattan, police say

More than 40 people were arrested in Manhattan on Thursday as they called for justice in the death of George Floyd.

The protests began at about 3 p.m. at Union Square and spread throughout south Manhattan, said New York Police Lt. John Grimpel. He said the demonstrations quickly devolved into violent clashes.

Grimpel did not detail all of the reasons for the arrests, saying that charges were pending. He said one woman with a knife was arrested, and a man was detained after throwing a garbage can that struck a police officer in the head. Another person was arrested for trying to remove the gun from a captain’s holster, he said.

No one was arrested for violating social distancing mandates, he said.

Multiple officers were hurt and taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, according to Grimpel.

“Right now, it appears to be quieted down and over,” he said shortly before 10 p.m.

By Hannah Knowles