'Stop killing black people': George Floyd's death sparks protests in Minneapolis, Memphis, LA




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\'Stop killing black people\': George Floyd\'s death sparks protests in Minneapolis, Memphis, LA  

Protesters clashed with police in Minneapolis. They chanted for justice in Memphis. They stopped freeway traffic in Los Angeles.

The death of George Floyd continued to ripple across the U.S. on Wednesday night as the calls became louder for the arrest of the white police officer who knelt on his neck for several minutes in a horrifying video that spread across social media this week.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Ben Crump, attorney for Floyd's family, warned any instigators of violence in the Minneapolis protests: "We don't need that. We need people focused on getting justice," he said.

He is calling for an independent autopsy, saying he doesn't trust the city of Minneapolis. "They offered him no humanity while keeping his knee on his neck. Members of the public were the only ones trying to de-escalate the situation. Not the police," Crump told CNN on Thursday.

"Keeping the knee on the neck for over 8 minutes - that is unconscionable."

George Floyd's death: Another wound for Minneapolis' black community

While hundreds of protesters took to the streets, police chiefs from coast to coast expressed their outrage with Floyd's death.

"Do not defend the undefendable, attempt to justify the unjustifiable or excuse the inexcusable," Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said on Twitter. "George Floyd should be alive today."

"The lack of compassion, use of excessive force, or going beyond the scope of the law, doesn't just tarnish our badge - it tears at the very fabric of race relations in this country," Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Minneapolis: Police, protesters clash; looters raid Target, Dollar Tree, other stores

Protests in Minneapolis devolved into chaos on Wednesday night. Reports of fires came from around the city and videos of looters inside of stores quickly spread on social media. Several people shared video of people taking products from a local Target.

A Cub Foods, a Dollar Tree and an AutoZone store also showed signs of damage and looting, and windows of businesses in nearby strip malls were reported to be smashed out.

At least one person was killed. Police spokesman John Elder told USA TODAY that the department was investigating a homicide near the area where a reporter from the Star Tribune newspaper tweeted that a looter had been shot and killed by a pawn shop owner.

One person was in custody early Thursday, the Star Tribune reported, but police wouldn't confirm if the victim was a looter.

"The facts of what led up to the shooting are still being sorted out. We are truly in the infancy of this investigation," Elder said.

As the protests stretched into the evening, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo urged calm. In an interview with KMSP-TV, he noted the internal investigation as well as the FBI's investigation of Floyd's death and said they offer a chance at justice.

"Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we're seeing tonight, whether it's the looting, the damage to property or other things," he said.

Memphis: George Floyd's death was 'nail in the unfortunate coffin for America'

A silent demonstration to protest the death of Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, turned into verbal confrontations with Memphis police and counter-protesters.

The rally began with about 40 people holding signs reading "Black Lives Matter," "Stop killing black people" and "Silence is violence." Protesters were largely silent, with occasional chants of "no justice, no peace" and the names of black men and women who had been killed by police officers.

Passing drivers - and one ambulance - honked in support and waved or gave thumbs-up.

Opinion: Video of George Floyd pinned by Minneapolis cops is shocking but not surprising

Within an hour, however, the protesters were met by two counter-protesters, who identified themselves as members of the Facebook group Confederate 901.

Theryn C. Bond, a prominent local activist and former Memphis City Council candidate, confronted the counter-protesters, who occasionally jeered at the crowd to "go out for a jog" - a reference to Aubrey's slaying.

"I was so impressed to see so many white allies," Bond said. "Because sometimes we think, 'Everybody doesn't get it.' And I think with the recent murder of George Floyd by police... I think this was the proverbial nail in the unfortunate coffin for America to really understand what we mean when we say, 'Black Lives Matter.'"

Floyd's death this week is the latest in a string of violence against black people. Taylor was shot and killed in her Kentucky home by officers executing a "no-knock" search warrant, while Arbery was shot and killed while jogging after being pursued by two white men who later said they thought he was a burglary suspect.

Los Angeles: Protesters block 101 freeway, smash windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers

Hundreds of people protesting Floyd's death while in police custody blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers in a rally organized by Black Lives Matter.

Demonstrators gathered in the late afternoon on downtown streets and, eventually, dozens of them moved onto U.S. 101 despite police efforts to keep them from walking into the lanes.

'A very sad event': President Donald Trump to receive 'full report' on Minneapolis death of George Floyd

When a CHP patrol car arrived, demonstrators surrounded it. The car's window was smashed and it jerked forward and moved away with several protesters who had jumped onto the hood. Television news footage showed one man finally hopping or jumping from the side of the moving car and then flopping onto the ground.

A second CHP car arrived and was attacked, with one demonstrator hurling what appeared to be a wooden skateboard through the back window before it moved off.

At its rally's peak, hundreds of people gathered outside the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice. The demonstration was mostly peaceful and no arrests were immediately made, Los Angeles police Officer Mike Lopez said.

Contributing: Corinne S. Kennedy, Micaela A. Watts and Samuel Hardiman, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.); The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd: Black man's death in police custody spurs US protests

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