Hours after Terrence Floyd urged protesters in Minneapolis to channel their anger over police brutality and the killing of his older brother, George Floyd, into activism in the form of peaceful demonstrations and voting, violence escalated in cities throughout the country.
Floyd implored those gathered at the memorial site where his older brother was killed a week earlier to stop vandalizing and tearing down the community.
“I know he would not want y’all to be doing this,” Floyd said, recounting that his brother had moved to the Twin Cities from Houston and loved the city.
“I Understand y’all upset, but I doubt y’all half as upset as I am,” Floyd said. “So if I’m not over here wilding out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? What are y’all doing? Y’all doing nothing! Because that’s not going to bring my brother back, at all. It may feel good for the moment, just like when you drink. But when it comes down, you’re going to wonder what you did. My family is a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing.”
“We’re upset, but we’re not going to take it. … In every case of police brutality, the same thing has been happening: y‘all protest, y’all destroy stuff. And if they don’t move, you know why they don’t move? Because it’s not their stuff, it’s our stuff. So they want us to destroy our stuff. We’re not going to move! So let’s do this another way.
“… Let’s stop thinking that our place doesn’t matter, and vote. Not just vote for the president … vote for everybody. Educate yourself. Don’t wait for somebody else to tell you who’s who. Educate yourself and who you’re voting for. And that’s how we’re going to hit them. … And we’re still going to do this peacefully.”
Those gathered around Floyd were move by his words and raised their voices with him as he led them in chanting for peace and justice.
Nationwide, however, lawlessness and mayhem ensued Monday night.
In St. Louis, Missouri, four police officers were shot last night after protests turned violent near the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, Fox News affiliate KTVI reported Tuesday, adding that the injuries were not life-threatening. “Two of the officers were shot in the leg, one in the foot, and one in the arm.” All were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.
An officer in Las Vegas, Nevada, was shot on the Strip Monday night after attempting to make arrests as people threw rocks and bottles at him before he was gunned down. He’s now in “grave condition” and on life support, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joe Lombardo said, according to Fox News affiliate KVVU. The suspect was apprehended and taken into custody.
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In Buffalo, New York, the driver of an SUV sped up his vehicle and plowed through a group of law enforcement officers and their dogs Monday night, injuring two officers. A man caught the incident on video from the balcony of his apartment, Syracuse.com reports.
Earlier on Monday, Floyd spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” about his plans to visit the location where brother took his last breath and died. Floyd said he wanted to “connect with his spirit … and connect with him again,” even though he was still in a state of shock and felt numb.
The younger Floyd said the looting, riots and ensuing violence are overshadowing his brother’s life and the circumstances surrounding his death.
“He was about peace, he was about unity. But the things that are transpiring now, they may call it unity but it’s destructive unity. It’s not what he was about. That’s not what my brother was about," he said.
"If you’re angry, it’s OK to be angry. But channel your anger to do something positive or make a change another way. We’ve been down this road already. He’d want us to seek justice. Damaging your hometown is not what he’d want.”
Floyd's minister, the Rev. Kevin McCall of Brooklyn, New York, said during the interview that the country needs peace and unity, and Americans need to get on their knees and pray to God to "heal our pride."
“We need the peace of God that passes all understanding. The Bible says, ‘be angry but sin not.’ It’s good to protest, and we want to continue to protest while we continue to call for justice. But we need peace, we don’t need looters,” McCall said.
“Nobody is more angry than the family, so you should respect the family’s wishes. It’s not about you looting and it’s not about violence. It’s about the family and the justice that they want to see happen.”
George Floyd, who had moved to Minnesota to start a new life following a felony conviction for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in Texas, died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day while in police custody. He was arrested for allegedly buying cigarettes using a counterfeit $20 bill at Cup Foods convenience store where the clerk reported the incident to 911 and described Floyd as intoxicated. Video footage from the incident was caught on cellphone cameras and police body cameras.
After Floyd was handcuffed he refused to get into the squad car, "stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic."
One video showed former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as other officers held onto his back and feet while he was handcuffed. Officer Thomas Lane asked whether they should roll Floyd on his side after he said he was struggling to breathe. The final time the officer asked that question Floyd was already unresponsive.
Further details of Floyd's arrest and the events that transpired are listed chronologically in the criminal complaint against Chauvin.
Last Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He and three other officers who responded to the call — Lane, J.A. Kueng, and Tou Thoa — were fired from the police department following Floyd's death.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office on Monday ruled George Floyd's manner of death was a homicide and stated that he suffered "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)." The medical examiner's office listed "arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease," "fentanyl intoxication" and "recent methamphetamine use" as "other significant conditions."
Follow Melissa Barnhart on Twitter: @MelBarnhart