Minneapolis officers retreat as police department, buildings burn – 500 National Guard Soldiers sent in

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The city is burning… and police seem helpless to stop it.  And now there are concerns about a potential pending explosion at the 3rd precinct police department.

On Thursday night, rioters took to the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul yet again, dramatically escalating the looting and lighting more buildings on fire.

Among them is the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct.

The department has been known for years for a community-focused policing model.

Now, forced to conduct crowd control against violent protestors, they find themselves entirely unprepared.

We’re told by numerous officers in the agency that cops haven’t been equipped with shields, helmets or body armor.

And now rioters are stepping up the attacks, we’re told by sources on the ground, using everything from frozen chickens and rocks to molotov cocktails.

As of late Thursday evening, we’ve received multiple reports that officers have been forced to retreat from the 3rd police precinct. 

We’re told rioters are destroying the police station, lighting rooms on fire and destroying the building.

A number of other buildings in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been vandalized and torched as well.

Earlier this week, the mayor had actually encouraged people to join the protests… which turned into rioting.

“What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict of last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness – anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years,” Mayor Frey said in a press conference Thursday.

He went on to say it’s not just “understandable” that people are feeling angry and sad, but it is also “right.”

“It is a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived,” he declared. “That sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities.”

He encouraged the city to “be better” than in past years, and said people must battle their “shortcomings with humility” and “restore the peace”.

In the meantime, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is in the hot seat as riots erupt across America.

This, over her actions that some argue ultimately lead to the death of George Floyd.

He’s the man who was killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes in Minneapolis this week.

Here’s the deal.  At one point, Klobuchar was in charge of prosecution for the city on Minneapolis when she served as Hennepin County attorney before becoming a senator.

The Guardian reported that when she was in that role, she declined to prosecute many police officers who were accused of using excessive force.

Among those cases were that of the officer who has been blamed for Floyd’s death.

According to a database documenting those complaints, during his 19-year career as a Minneapolis police officer, Derick Chauvin had at least 10 conduct complaints filed against him.

Chauvin was fired on Tuesday.

In one of those complaints, he was involved in the shooting death of a man who had stabbed multiple victims before attacking police.

Klobuchar reportedly refused to prosecute him.

As WCCO-TV originally reported, he was also placed on administrative leave after being involved in the nonfatal shooting of a Native American man in 2011.

The Washington Post reported in March that the Democratic senator allowed multiple police officers to go unprosecuted when complaints were made against them.

The Post reported that Klobuchar “declined to bring charges in more than two dozen cases in which people were killed in encounters with police.”

Yet despite that, she reportedly also “aggressively prosecuted smaller offenses such as vandalism and routinely sought longer-than-recommended sentences, including for minors.”

“Such prosecutions, done with the aim of curbing more serious crimes, have had mixed results and have been criticized for their disproportionate effect on poor and minority communities.”

Minneapolis has a Democratic mayor and with a former prosecutor who is a Democratic darling.  So of course it’s all falling only on the officers involved. 

But what would have happened if Klobuchar had prosecuted Chauvin?  Would Floyd still be alive?

In the meantime, new footage has come in showing a woman in a wheelchair come under attack during the riots Wednesday night.

This, as she reportedly tried to block the Target entrance to stop some of the looting.

The woman, who was seen on camera carrying a knife, was reportedly described as “elderly” but is now believed to be in her 30’s.

In the footage, she’s blocking the door of a Target store as looters try to drag her away.

“She got a knife! She got a knife!” the crowd screams.

Moments later, someone blasts her in the face with the contents of a fire extinguisher.

As the crowd cheers, she’s pelted with more objects.

Footage does show that the woman had a knife – but it’s unclear whether it was for self-defense or if she was using it as a weapon to try and attack others.

In a second clip, you can see a man trying to grab the woman by the head.

“I was peacefully protesting and trying to block the way so they couldn’t loot the Target – I didn’t stab anybody,” she said in another video.

“They attacked me from front and back, they punched me in the mouth, I got punched in the head several times, I got grabbed from behind, people grabbed my wheelchair, they stole my keys, they stole everything they could off of me,” she added.

In the meantime, as the violence worsens..  the Minneapolis Mayor has determined that racism was to blame and a cop killed a man because he was black.

Oh, and please stop lighting stuff on fire, he asks.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made the comments during an interview on CBS aired on Thursday morning.

When asked if he believes that the incident was murder, his answer?

“I do.”

He continued:

“I’m not a prosecutor, but let me be clear, the arresting officer killed someone. As to the precise charge, I’m not going to get into that.”

He wasn’t done there, going on to say “he’d be alive today if he were white.”

“The facts that I’ve seen, which are minimal, certainly lead me down the path that race was involved.

His continued comments are sure to stoke further riots.

“I don’t know whether or not there’s explicit or implicit racism involved, but racism is involved – let’s be very clear.”

In the meantime, can anyone explain to us how looting and burning down buildings somehow honors the memory of George Floyd?

Yeah – that’s what we thought.

The National Guard is now being called in.

Reportedly five people have already been shot in the mayhem, with one confirmed as dead, and dozens of buildings being burned and vandalized.

During the protests and riots, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed that there was a breach of police department property by some of the crowds of people on the street.

Chief Arradondo noted that he did authorize the use of tear gas by officers in response to said breach:

“I did direct our officers to deploy gas once a secure fence was breached, and those individuals, again not all, but some of those individuals were in our secure parking facility which had access to our Minneapolis squad cars and weapons.”

While the chief noted that he respects the First Amendment that allows peaceful assembly, he said these demonstrations cannot continue to evolve into dangerous riots:

“I’m urging all those who participate in these very important gatherings to do so and to be mindful of others’ personal safety, their space, to be respectful.

We cannot have members of our community engaging in destructive or criminal types of behavior.”

Chief Arradondo also commented on the video of Floyd that has been the epicenter of the locals’ outrage. He said that from what he saw on that video doesn’t reflect the department’s “values”:

“What I observed, those actions from those former four officers in no way reflect the values, the vision and the culture that I want to change here with the Minneapolis Police Department.”

The identities of the four officers involved in the video were released by the MPD on May 27th.

While all four have been fired at this point, there’s been an outcry to levy charges against them.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been vocal about this as well, asking why at least Chauvin hasn’t been arrested since he’s the one visible on the video with his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck:

“I’ve wrestled, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, with one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?

If you had done it or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. I cannot come up with a good answer to that question.”

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

The morning of the 28th saw the aftermath of two days’ worth of protests turned into riots. The National Guard was requested to assist the 3rd Precinct police station in order to provide relief to officers, where protesters were said to have begun gathering around said precinct.

The National Guard responded to said request and noted that they were preparing to arrive on site.

Of the five people shot during the riotous nights, one man has been arrested for a fatal shooting that transpired outside of a pawnshop.

Sources say that the 59-year-old male arrested in connection with that alleged shooting was supposedly trying to stop someone from looting the Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry.

The FBI is currently assisting with the investigation into Floyd’s death, and even President Donald Trump has weighed in on the matter as well, posting the following on Twitter:

“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd.

I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement.

My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!”

The ongoing riots have seen the likes of a Target store looted and torn to pieces on the inside. An AutoZone was set on fire, as well as a housing development that was under construction.

Buildings of local businesses and the ilk had windows smashed and covered in graffiti.

 The interior of a Cub Foods that was looted was showcased by a local news anchor who was invited into the establishment after the damage had been done. The scene that was displayed looked as though a tornado had ripped through the interior of the store.

More videos have been surfacing of people looting the already decimated Target store, with many shown pulling shopping carts to load up on items to steal.

What’s confusing in all this, is the level of mental gymnastics going on for people online to justify this behavior. Joshua Collins, who is running for Congress in Washington state, had this to say online about the looting: 

“As long as they continue not to care about cops murdering black people, I’m gonna continue not to care about people looting Targets & AutoZones.”

The only thing that is going to come from these riots going on is further destruction and more violence and possibly more loss of life. By destroying the literal community, therein lies the possibility that investors and businesses will either not return or be scared to ever set up shop in that city.

The quicker that this is addressed, the better for the city. The crowds have been proven to be unmanageable, and thus additional forces are in the works to restore safety and some semblance of civility.

In case you missed the report and imagery from Wednesday night, here it is:

Wednesday night, police deployed tear gas to disperse rioters yet again.

This, after the Minneapolis Police Department identified the four officers involved in the arrest that left George Floyd dead.

Hundreds of protesters began rioting outside the 3rd Precinct for the second night in a row, not long after President Donald Trump took to twitter about actions being taken at the federal level in the investigation.

“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd,” the President said.

“I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement,” he added in another tweet.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, the city put up barricades around the 3rd Precinct on Minnehaha Avenue.  They are gearing up for another night of threats and violence.
 
 

It of course didn’t take long for looters to see on the opportunity to rob stores.

Violence and anarchy overtook city streets on Tuesday as what began as peaceful protests quickly escalated into absolute mayhem.

It came just hours after four police officers were fired before an investigation could even be started into an incident that transpired Monday.

That incident is believed to have resulted in the death of George Floyd.

The announcement was made by Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

“This is the right call,” Frey said.

The department hasn’t publicly released the names of the officers yet.  And although many media outlets have doxxed the four officers – Law Enforcement Today made the decision on Tuesday to not release the names of the four who were fired.

Two officers were apparently responding to an alleged forgery at a business in south Minneapolis before the detainment of Floyd.

They were called to Chicago and 38th on the report of counterfeit money being used.

At the beginning of 10-minute video clip a bystander posted to Facebook Monday evening, Floyd was in handcuffs and repeatedly begged the first officer to “please” release the pressure on his back and neck.

He kept saying “I can’t breathe,” and “they’re gonna kill me.”

Medical experts have argued in other cases that if you can speak, you can breathe.

It’s worth noting that the media isn’t showing the altercation officers got into with Floyd after asking him to come down from a vehicle he was sitting on, before the incident on the video that’s gone viral took place.

While bystanders protested in the video, he continued to keep his knees on top of Floyd for several minutes after he stopped moving.  During that time, a second officer told witnesses to stand back.

The other two officers fired were said to be those who responded to the scene a short time later.

The Minneapolis Police Department initially put out a release stating Floyd had experienced a “medical incident” while in police custody.

But in the outrage after, they asked the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate Floyd’s death. 

Frey read a statement that said the officer in the video had “failed in the most basic, human sense,” and called Floyd’s death “wrong on every level.” 

Typically in investigations like this, accused officers (regardless of whether there’s video or not), would be placed on administrative leave while an investigation occurs.  

That didn’t happen here.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was quick to condemn the officers’ actions on social media and in interviews.

“George Floyd’s life mattered. He was a human being and what all of us saw in that video was wrong in every sense,” Frey said Tuesday in an interview with North News streamed on Facebook. “It was horrid.”

It was also a war cry for protesters, which reportedly saw a unity of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

The protests started peacefully – and within a short period of time erupted into chaos.

We’re told from local officers that it didn’t take long for hundreds of protesters to arrive at the home of at least one of the fired officers while violence exploded elsewhere in the city.

 

All over social media, protesters are releasing the addresses of the officers involved who were fired earlier today.  They are calling for rioters to move the violence to those homes.

Officers reported being hit by everything from bb’s to paintballs.

Within hours of the chaos breaking out, there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage done and countless injuries.

At one point, the Minneapolis Police Department 3rd precinct was surrounded by protesters.  

Vandals started attacking police vehicles and smashing in windows with bricks.  

Protesters said the riots would continue overnight and were encouraging “anyone within a five hour driving distance” to attend.

Sources on the ground told Law Enforcement Today that vehicles have been vandalized, spray painted and destroyed.  The reports we’re getting are backed by video from Unicorn Riot.

Officers geared up in riot control gear inside of the surrounded police department and nearby pushed their way through the parking lot to try and disperse the crowd.

Police started deploying gas canisters – which were being throw back at police from the crowd.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey reportedly encouraged people to attend the protest, but later asked people to stop the violence.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer.

Protesters warn they are just getting started.

The story brings to light a movement out of California to tie the hands of law enforcement in regards to the use of “chokeholds.”

As we reported this past fall, a group of activists in San Diego are pushing for new restrictions over police officers using chokehold restraints when they’re dealing with dangerous suspects, and depending on the outcome, it could put the lives of officers at risk.

A large group of activists, community members, professors and others gathered at San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center on Monday to call for the ban of police chokeholds, calling the act inhumane and saying that it could lead to death or other lifelong effects. 

They called the town hall meeting the “I Can’t Breathe Campaign” in light of Eric Garner’s statements while being restrained by a member of the NYPD years ago before he died in police custody.

 

Currently, police in San Diego are not authorized to use chokeholds unless their lives are in danger. They are, however, able to use something referred to as the “carotid restraint”, in which a strategic hold on the carotid artery causes the suspect to pass out. 

As any officer will tell you, the hold could very well mean the difference between life and death, both for the officer and/or the suspect.

But no matter the situation, the Racial Justice Coalition says that chokeholds are never warranted. 

Darwin Fishman, a lecturer at San Diego State University, said that the restraints were too often used against minorities.

“We waited until Eric Garner was killed before we started talking about chokeholds,” Fishman said. “It doesn’t have to be the case that we just respond to crisis.”

eric_garner_chokehold_pantaleo
Officer Pantaleo attempts to take Eric Garner to the ground. (Screenshot – YouTube)

 

A mother from the community raised her concerns over police use of force.

“That’s every mother’s nightmare, to be called that your son was locked up, or worse, that your son is in the hospital and is brain dead because these are all the things the chokehold can do,” Buki Domingos said at the gathering. 

Domingos said that the carotid restraint should be banned as well, calling it just as dangerous as the chokehold. 

“One is not very far from the other and the human neck is not that big,” she said.

NBC San Diego reported that the SDPD used carotid restraints over 570 times between 2013 and 2018, according to data gathered in a public records request. The past two years of data shows less than a quarter of all those restrained were black.

 

The San Diego department advised that they had recently changed the protocol over neck restraints during the summer. They said that now anyone who had been put in the carotid restraint would be required to be brought to the hospital following the encounter. 

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Minneapolis officers retreat as police department, buildings burn - 500 National Guard Soldiers sent in

 

California just recently signed Assembly Bill 392 into effect, which changes the criteria in which an officer is authorized to issued deadly force. It has been called the strongest piece of legislation ever concerning police use of force. Though it does not concern neck restraints, the activist group is pushing to add the hold to the list of “lethal force” measures. 

 

Critics say that the new law surrounding deadly force puts police officers at a greater risk of injury or death. It is way too easy for a grand jury, a judge or a trial jury to Monday morning quarterback the situation from the safety of the courtroom. It is easy to look at the totality of circumstances after the fact. Officers have to make a split-second decision. They do not always have access to the totality.

This legislation uses vague terminology to the detriment of our police officers, their safety and their decision-making process.

They said the laws could make officers hesitate for a fatal second if they have to consider alternatives to lethal force. That’s what Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Julie Robertson faced. She testified how her partner, Mark Stasyuk, died last fall during a gunfight and she hesitated as the suspect shot at her with only his back exposed.

Mark Stasyuk
(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)

 

“I recall in that moment thinking that if I were to shoot him in the back, I would be the next officer in the news being scrutinized for my actions,” Robertson said. “The thought of having to second-guess my actions in that moment is frightening. This bill makes me wonder if sacrificing everything is worth it.”

Why are legislators okay with putting our officers into such a precarious situation? Why would we put these men and women in a situation that forces them to hesitate and second-guess themselves in split-second, life or death scenarios?

These are questions that continue to be asked. 

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