Protests against police violence have spread across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody May 25.
Video and photos show hundreds of people, many in medical masks, gathering in downtown Los Angeles, where demonstrators blocked a freeway and smashed the windows of a police car, and in Memphis, where police had erected barricades.
Protesters rallied in Houston for a prayer vigil and in Chicago Tuesday night. Chance the Rapper organized the Chicago protest and spoke to those assembled: “This organized protest isn’t a direct diss to CPD. It’s not a diss to you guys’ mayor. It’s specifically standing in solidarity with the people in Minneapolis that are grieving. I’m sure there’s some black men and women officers, and white officers in this building that woke up sick to their stomach when they saw this video as well, and we’re standing in solidarity with all those people, and we’re just letting you all know that this s**t’s not going to keep happening.”
Demonstrations in Minneapolis, which began Tuesday and continued Wednesday, turned to violent confrontation as police fired tear gas canisters into crowds.
Floyd, 46, died after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for at least seven minutes while handcuffing him. Video posted to Facebook showed Floyd repeatedly yelling “Help me!” and “I can’t breathe” before he fell unconscious, echoing the last words of Eric Garner, a black man killed by law enforcement in 2014. The four officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired Tuesday. The FBI is investigating Floyd’s death for possible civil rights violations, and the city’s mayor has called for charges against Chauvin.