George Floyd's mourners marched against police brutality. They were met with rubber bullets and tear gas
Wearing masks and waving banners reading "Black Lives Matter," thousands of people massed Tuesday at the Minneapolis intersection where, one day earlier, local police killed George Floyd. Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody after an officer restrained him and then kneeled on his neck for several minutes while Floyd begged for his life.
Raising their fists in a massive show of communal solidarity, protesters gathered in the Powderhorn neighborhood where Floyd — a beloved local bouncer — was killed.
As the day went on, protesters marched en masse toward the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd precinct headquarters several miles away. There, as rain began to fall, police met the activists with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, as a smaller group of protesters reportedly spray painted the building's walls, shattered windows, and tossed garbage bins at cars parked in the precinct's lot.
Although the four officers involved in Floyd's death were fired less than 24 hours after the incident, protesters insisted that termination was not enough.
"This will happen again if we don’t get out in front of this,” community activist Al Flowers told the Star Tribune. "[It was] one of the most egregious murders I’ve ever seen."
Despite the optics of openly attacking a community rallying against police brutality, MPD officers continued to pummel the dwindling — but committed — crowd of activists, leading to a standoff in a nearby Target parking lot, where protesters sheltered behind shopping carts to shield themselves from the deluge of rubber bullets, paint balls, and chemical irritants.
Alarmingly, there were multiple reports of officers hitting — and perhaps deliberately targeting — local media members covering the protests, including a reporter for the Star Tribune newspaper.
"I got on my knees and I put up a peace sign and they tear gassed me,” one protester told the local CBS affiliate. “And I said, 'Tear gas me again because non-violence seems healing.'"
Local officials in the Twin Cities have been quick to condemn Floyd's killing, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) calling it "horrible. Completely and utterly messed up," in a Facebook post apologizing to his city's black community.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter (D), who is Black, wrote that the footage of Floyd's death was "one of the most vile and heartbreaking images I’ve ever seen," and demanded that the officers involved "be held fully accountable."