George Floyd's girlfriend says riots following his death would 'devastate' him: 'Protest in a peaceful way'
As outrage sparked and tensions heightened over the death of Floyd, protesters stormed into a police precinct and set it on fire
George Floyd’s girlfriend of three years, Courtney Ross, opened up about the widespread protests and riots that have gripped the city of Minneapolis after the clip of a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck leading to his death went viral on social media. "Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd," she told The Star Tribune, adding that she wanted protesters "to know that I understand their frustration" but "I want people to protest in a peaceful way."
As outrage sparked and tensions heightened over the death of Floyd, protesters stormed into a police precinct and set it on fire. The Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd precinct was seen up in flames at around 10 pm. Angry protesters were seen taking over the building and climbing on top of the roof of the building as they celebrated the flames and fire.
While fire alarms were heard going off in the background, protesters could be heard chanting, "What's his name? George Floyd!" as fireworks shot up into the air. A picture from the scene shows rioters making their way into the building using an open door. The Minneapolis Police Department revealed that officers and other workers inside the precinct had been evacuated a little after 10 pm. The Department shared, "Protesters forcibly entered the building and ignited several fires."
On Thursday night, May 28, the city warned people to stay away from the precinct should the building have any explosion. The city tweeted, "We're hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building. If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes," the tweet read. As the building burned, another fire was seen across the street at a wine and liquor store located close to the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had called the National Guard in order to curb the violence. A total of 500 National Guard soldiers was deployed to the streets as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency. Frey called for protesters to maintain peace in the city. "I understand the anger and pain," he said.
"Please, please Minneapolis. We cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy. The activity around Lake and Hiawatha is now unsafe. Please, help us keep the peace. Stay safe and evacuate the area. We appreciate those that protested peacefully but now is the time to go home. Obviously, we have both instances of violence and fires. There are institutions, grocery stores and markets around Lake, that our community relies on — especially in times of a pandemic."
Trump, on the other hand, faced backlash for his tweet on the riots on Thursday, May 28, which included the word "thugs". Trump tweeted, "I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right. These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
After the POTUS used the word "thugs" for members of the black community, a racist term that has systematically been used for decades, #DonaldTrumpIsOverParty started trending on Twitter. Many are also speculating that this might be the moment that ends his chances of reelection this year.
In a late-night press conference, Mayor Frey responded to Trump's tweets. "Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis," Frey said, according to a report by USA Today. "Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we’re gonna get through this."