KEY POINTS

  • Protests condemning the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer from Minneapolis remain violent
  • Protestors are ignoring the dangers from COVID-19 to gather and battle local police
  • The protests show no signs of letting up this week

Saint Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday evening saw the third straight day of riots over the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer on May 25. Protests, many violent, were wracking the country despite the health dangers posed by COVID-19 infections as people gathered in large crowds.

According to Rep. Leslie Herod, someone fired five or six shots from a bus stop nearby into a crowd gathered outside the Colorado State Capitol Building along East Colfax Avenue in Denver. There are as yet no reports of casualties. The Denver Police Department (DPD) said it wasn't sure if the shots were related to the ongoing street protests in the city.

A group of Denver protestors marched along 20th and Blake while others marched down Lincoln and then onto I-25, where they shut down traffic. Witnesses on scene said DPD officers fired rubber bullets and pepper balls at protestors denouncing Floyd's death. A tweet from Denver showed a man with bandages over his eyes being treated for his injuries.

The New York City Police Department arrested 70 protestors in Lower Manhattan following violent clashes in which a mob hurled bottles at police and shouted insults. Of the arrests, one was for criminal possession of a weapon and another for throwing a garbage pail at a police officer, injuring him. A man was arrested for trying to grab a cop’s gun.

The St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) said the TJ Maxx and Napa Auto Parts Store were blazing as protests continued in Minnesota following Floyd's death. Police asked people to avoid the area, which was packed with angry protestors.

“A Fire has been reported at TJ Maxx on the 1400 block of University Avenue,” tweeted SPPD on Thursday evening. "Officers continue to be hit with rocks and bottles thrown by people who are also breaking into buildings, looting and destroying property.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order earlier Thursday activating the Minnesota National Guard after protests broke out through the state and in St. Paul. He did so after talking to St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

Two police officers stand on the roof of the Third Police Precinct holding a projectile launcher during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 27, 2020 Two police officers stand on the roof of the Third Police Precinct holding a projectile launcher during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 27, 2020 Photo: AFP / Kerem Yucel

“We have requested the assistance of the National Guard, and so we expect that response to be forthcoming and we expect their assistance to be forthcoming,” said Carter.

As of 10:00 p.m. in Minneapolis, there were several large fires blazing, including vehicles set alight. CNN reported the air was thick with billowing smoke and the choking odor of tear gas.

Protestors were still milling outside the headquarters of the MPD. Officers earlier erected a barricade outside the HQ to separate protesters from the building. The barricade was later torn down by rioters.

Video and photos showed MPD officers on rooftops throwing tear gas onto protestors, who retaliated by throwing rocks and glass bottles at the cops. They also ignited firecrackers and used laser pointers to pinpoint positions of cops in the evening light.

Media reports on the scene at Minneapolis said the number of protestors was increasing. Also on Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a local emergency due to the civil disturbances in the city. The emergency will remain in place for 72 hours.

On the other hand, Andrew Ginther, mayor of Columbus, Ohio, urged city residents to engage in peaceful protests. Ginther made the pointless call even as some 300 angry protestors flooded Columbus's streets yelling, "No justice, no peace, no racist police!"