The Third Precinct police station in Minneapolis was set ablaze on Thursday night as violent protests continued in the city and other cities across the U.S, following Monday’s killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after pleading for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck over a long period of time while arresting him.
Rioters were seen cheering and setting off fireworks as the massive fire broke out at the police station which is about 3 miles away from where Floyd was killed.
Fox News reported that the rioters broke into the precinct around 10 p.m. local time, after police on the rooftop previously tried to disperse a gathering crowd using “flash bang” shots and tear gas. Rioters entered the building and sparked the fire after police officers on the roof were rescued by helicopter.
A police spokesman confirmed late Thursday that staff had evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel’’ shortly after 10 p.m.
Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set.
The police station is just one of many properties in the city which have been broken into during the third straight night of protests, looting and riots.
Late Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted about the “total lack of leadership” in Minneapolis. He tweeted;
I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right
These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
More than 500 members of the National Guard were spotted heading towards the Twin Cities region, after being called in by Governor Tim Walz. A tweet shared by Minnesota National Guard read;
We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.
We are here with the Minneapolis Fire Department ready to assist so they can safely do their mission.
More unrest was reported Thursday evening in cities such as New York City, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky.