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'They murdered my brother': Protests held in Minneapolis over black man's killing by police officer

The case is seen as the latest example of police brutality against African Americans.

A fire burns at an AutoZone store in Minneapolis on Wednesday
A fire burns at an AutoZone store in Minneapolis on Wednesday
Image: Carlos Gonzalez/PA Images

DEMONSTRATORS HAVE TAKEN to the streets in the US city of Minneapolis for the second night in a row following the killing of a black man by a police officer this week.

Police fired tear gas and formed a human barricade to keep protesters from climbing a fence surrounding the Third Precinct, where the officers accused of killing George Floyd worked before they were fired on Tuesday.

Outrage has grown across the country at Floyd’s death on Monday, fuelled in part by video footage from a bystander which shows him handcuffed and in the custody of four white police officers.

In the video, Floyd can be seen lying on the ground while a police officer presses a knee into his neck, before going limp.

President Donald Trump called Floyd’s death “sad and tragic”, and all four officers have been fired as prosecutors said they had called in the FBI to help investigate the case.

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo cautioned protestors to remain peaceful yesterday.

But by 10.00pm local time, a car shop across from the precinct had been set alight and another shop nearby was being looted, according to US media.

Police continued to hold the crowds back from scaling a fence into the precinct, where their cruisers contain guns. Protesters remained peaceful at two other locations in the city.

At the place where Floyd was first taken into custody by the officers, people chanted and barbecued, carried placards and spoke out. Bouquets were set out as tributes to Floyd, and there was no vandalism.

Calls for justice came from around the country.

“I would like those officers to be charged with murder, because that’s exactly what they did,” Bridgett Floyd, the victim’s sister, said on NBC television.

“They murdered my brother…. They should be in jail for murder.”

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said he could not understand why the officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck has not been arrested.

“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,” Frey said.

“Based on what I saw, the officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd should be charged,” he said.

‘I can’t breathe’

The case is seen as the latest example of police brutality against African Americans, which gave rise six years ago to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Floyd had been detained on a minor charge of allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to by something at a convenience store.

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In the video, policemen hold him to the ground while one presses his knee to Floyd’s neck.

“Your knee in my neck. I can’t breathe…. Mama. Mama,” Floyd is heard saying.

He grew silent and motionless, unable to move even as the officers told him to “get up and get in the car.”

He was taken to hospital where he was later declared dead.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the FBI needs to thoroughly investigate the case.

“It’s a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but part of an engrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,” Biden said.

“We have to ensure that the Floyd family receive the justice they are entitled to.”

- © AFP 2020

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