Death and violence on streets of Minneapolis after fatal arrest

A man has been shot dead and buildings set on fire in Minneapolis as the city erupted in a second night of violence on Thursday (Australian time).

Crowds of people pillaged shops near where an unarmed black man died after a horrifying attempted arrest two days earlier.

Riot police fired tear gas and plastic bullets at crowds for a second night and, by early Thursday morning (local time), police confirmed they were investigating the shooting death of a man, with one person taken into custody.

The second day of demonstrations and looting began hours after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called on prosecutors to file criminal charges against the white policeman shown in the video clip pinning 46-year-old George Floyd to the street.

The shocking video, taken by an onlooker to Monday night’s fatal encounter between police and Mr Floyd, showed him lying face down and handcuffed, gasping for air and groaning for help, repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe”.

The policeman and three fellow officers involved in Mr Floyd’s apprehension, were sacked on Tuesday as the FBI opened an investigation of his arrest.

Mr Floyd, reportedly suspected of trying to pass counterfeit bills at local restaurant, was pronounced dead later that night in hospital.

Late on Wednesday (local time) hundreds of protesters, many wearing face coverings, filled streets around the police department’s Third Precinct station, less than a kilometre from where Mr Floyd had been arrested.

The crowd grew into the thousands as night fell and the protest evolved into a stand-off outside of the station. Police in riot gear formed lines while protesters taunted them from behind makeshift barricades of their own.

Police, some taking positions on rooftops, used tear gas, plastic bullets and concussion grenades to keep the crowds at bay, while protesters pelted them with rocks, water bottles and other projectiles. Some threw tear gas canisters back at the officers.

Local television news footage from a helicopter flying over the area showed dozens of individuals looting a Target store, running out with clothing and shopping carts filled with merchandise.

A car parts store also was set ablaze, media reported.

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter he had urged the FBI investigation “to be expedited”, saying he appreciated “all the work done by local law enforcement”.

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

George Floyd’s death highlights tensions in US
The video of Monday’s deadly confrontation between police and Floyd has stirred a national outcry and led Mr Frey to urge local county attorney, Mike Freeman, “to charge the arresting officer in this case”.

The city identified the four officers involved on Wednesday as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng. It did not identify the officer who had his knee against Mr Floyd’s throat, and provided no further information.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, the union representing the city’s police force, said in a statement the officers involved were cooperating with investigators and it was “not time to rush to judgment”.

The case is reminiscent of the 2014 killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in New York City who died after being put in a police chokehold.

Mr Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement calling attention to a wave of killings of African-Americans at the hands of police using unjustified lethal force.

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