Police precinct burns as George Floyd protests erupt in Minneapolis
Protesters breached and burned a Minneapolis police precinct on Thursday night as unrest continued to rock the city following the death of George Floyd.
Flames caused officers to evacuate the station. Thousands of demonstrators continued to march through the streets throughout the night, demanding that the police officers, who have since been fired, involved in Floyd’s death be charged with murder.
John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, told NBC News that the building was cleared around 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Shortly after, demonstrators forced their way inside and “ignited several fires,” Elder said.
Late Thursday night, the Minnesota National Guard tweeted that it was mobilizing 500 troops to the Twin Cities area, saying that its mission “is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate,” and to “ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.”
About half an hour later, just after midnight, the Guard tweeted again, confirming that they were with the Minneapolis Fire Department.
We are here with the Minneapolis Fire Department ready to assist so they can safely do their mission. pic.twitter.com/FjsCJ5B8d0
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 29, 2020
In addition to the state National Guard being mobilized, Metro Transit, which operates busses and light rail service in Minneapolis-St. Paul, announced that it would be suspending all service through the weekend.
The only transit service that will continue to run is the Metro Blue Line airport shuttle service, it said in a statement.
Mayor Jacob Frey said early Friday morning that he pulled police out of the precinct.
“You know brick and mortar is not as important as life,” he said.
Frey, who has called for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd’s death, called the vandalism and arson “unacceptable.”
“We will continue to do our jobs in that area,” Frey said, adding that 3rd Precinct officers will continue their patrols.
— Zach Boyden-Holmes (@Boydenphoto) May 28, 2020
The 3rd precinct building is now on fire. Rioters are celebrating and posing for pictures in front of the flames. pic.twitter.com/j5IrK8ARUd
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) May 28, 2020
–Updated at 7:32 a.m.