About 24 hours after George Floyd’s death, hundreds of protesters packed the streets of Minneapolis, many gathering at the intersection where Floyd was pinned to the ground by police officers shortly before he died.
Floyd was arrested Monday evening after officers responded to a call about an alleged forgery in progress. Video from bystanders shows Floyd handcuffed and pinned to the ground and one police officer’s knee pressing against his neck. Floyd pleaded he was in pain and couldn’t breathe. Shortly after, he died at a nearby hospital.
Four police officers involved in the incident were fired Tuesday, Minneapolis police said. State and federal authorities are now investigating the case.
Tuesday evening, protests started at the intersection where Floyd was last recorded alive. Protesters later moved to one of the police precincts, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.
Some demonstrators chanted “No justice, no peace” — as well as “I can’t breathe,” which were some of the last words Floyd uttered Monday in the bystander video.
Demonstrators and officers in riot gear faced each other in tense moments, and police sent tear gas canisters into crowds.
“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us. This will not go on another day,” a protester told the affiliate.
Tear gas used after crowd turned unruly, police say
Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd after some protesters turned unruly, Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder told CNN.
Some demonstrators wheeled a shopping cart full of rocks just outside the precinct and dumped the rocks on the ground for people to throw, a CNN team there reported.
A police cruiser’s back window was shattered when someone threw something at it.
Police outside Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct fired what appeared to CNN’s team on the scene to be non-lethal projectiles at demonstrators.
Officers fired “foam marking rounds,” but no rubber bullets, after some protesters became unruly, said Elder.
Those rounds are meant to mark individuals that officers believe may be instigating violence for later investigation, said Elder.
‘I can’t breathe’
Minneapolis police said officers were responding to a report of a forgery Monday evening and were told a person later described as the suspect was sitting on a car.
They found Floyd, who at that point was inside a car and police said he “physically resisted” after he got out. Officers handcuffed Floyd, who police said “appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
Video captured by bystanders shows an officer with his knee pressed against the neck of the 46-year-old, who was handcuffed on the pavement. Two officers handled the man on the ground while another stood nearby with his eyes on the bystanders as traffic passed.
“Please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd says. “… My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.”
At one point the man said, “Give me some water or something. Please. Please.”
Floyd screamed for several minutes before he became silent. Bystanders urged the officer to release the man from his hold. He died at a hospital shortly after, police said.
Surveillance video obtained from a nearby restaurant showed the first point of contact police had with the man. An officer escorts Floyd handcuffed out of a car and Floyd sits on the sidewalk. Moments later, the officer and another escort Floyd away, still with his hands behind his back.
Referencing the moments when Floyd was on the ground, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Tuesday the officer had no reason to employ the hold on his neck.
“The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained in on,” he said. “And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone’s neck.”
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement the officers were cooperating in the investigation and urged “now is not the time to rush to (judgment)” while the officers’ actions are examined.
A finding on Floyd’s cause and manner of death remains pending and it is being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement.