DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority'

DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority'
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The Department of Justice said Thursday that its investigation into the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week is a “top priority” after violent protests broke out in the city.

“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter,” U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald and FBI Special Agent in Charge Rainer Drolshagen said in a joint statement.

MacDonald and Drolshagen maintained they are overseeing a “robust criminal” investigation into the May 25 death of Floyd, which has reignited the national debate over the relationships between police departments and people of color. The probe will be conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office.

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The statement came after a second straight night of violent protests erupted in Minneapolis, with some demonstrators burning businesses and looting local stores. Other protesters clashed with police in the streets while officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other nonlethal equipment. 

The city has been in an uproar since the death of Floyd, a black man seen on video pleading for help while an officer pinned him to the ground by placing a knee on his neck. 

“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law,” said MacDonald and Drolshagen. “The Department of Justice asks for cooperation from all witnesses who believe they have relevant information and urges calm as investigators methodically continue to gather facts.”

All four officers involved in the incident have already been fired, but officials have begun calling for their arrests. 

“I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said Wednesday. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE said Wednesday he’s asked the Justice Department and FBI to expedite their investigation into Floyd’s death.