Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called in the National Guard as a Minneapolis injury was preparing for more violence on Thursday, a day after protests over the death of a black man in police custody left ruins smoldering, burned buildings, looted shops and graffiti demanding justice.
The unrest swept through several blocks in the Longfellow neighborhood and there were scattered protests that spanned miles across the city. It was the second night in a row of violent protests after the death of George Floyd, who was gasping for breath during an arrest Monday in which a police officer kept his knee on his neck for nearly eight minutes. In a video recorded by a passerby, Floyd can be heard saying that he cannot breathe until he slowly stops talking and moving.
Another protest was announced for Thursday afternoon near the city center. Some Minneapolis and suburb stores planned to close early, fearing more conflict. The city closed its light rail system and planned to suspend all bus service “for the safety of users and employees,” it said in a statement.
At noon Thursday, the violence spread to a Target store several miles away in the Midway neighborhood of St.Paul, where police said 50 to 60 people tried to take away merchandise. Later, St. Paul police and state police patrols blocked the entrance, but the looting spread to stores along nearby University Avenue, one of St. Paul’s main commercial corridors, and to other parts of the city.
St. Paul spokesman Steve Linders said authorities have been dealing with riots in approximately 20 different areas of the city.
Associated Press journalists Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis, Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.