Minneapolis, MN – At least five people were shot by other citizens as violent rioters looted and burned dozens of buildings, attacked police and firefighters, and busted out the windows of a U.S. bank with baseball bats on Wednesday night.
Businesses continued to burn well into Thursday morning, video footage showed.
It was the second night of violence in the wake of the in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died after now-former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck to keep him pinned down, even after Floyd appeared to lose consciousness.
On Thursday morning, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who initially encouraged people to attend the anti-police protests, confirmed he had requested the assistance of the Minnesota National Guard, KARE reported.
On Wednesday, the police department identified the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest as former Minneapolis Police Officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, KMSP reported.
Chauvin was a 19-year veteran of the MPD, while Thao served for 12 years, according to the Star Tribune.
Kueng was hired by MPD in 2017, and Lane joined the force in 2019.
Protesters have demanded the immediate arrests of all four officers involved.
They gathered outside the homes of Chauvin and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.
The city erected barricades around the 3rd Precinct on Minnehaha Avenue earlier on Wednesday in anticipation of additional protests.
By approximately 5 p.m., growing tensions outside the precinct resulted in officers deploying flashbangs and tear gas to disperse the mob, KARE reported.
Some members in the crowd hurled bottles and rocks at police and other demonstrators.
Rioters set buildings ablaze and threw explosives at police Wednesday night.
Police officers without crowd control body armor or shields came under a barrage of thrown rocks and fireworks, videos showed.
Scanner traffic indicated Molotov cocktails were also thrown at officers.
Scanner traffic also indicated an officer was hurt during an attack. The extent of the officer’s injuries has not been reported.
The National Guard was ultimately ordered to the MPD 3rd Precinct to relieve the officers stationed there, the Star Tribune reported.
They were accompanied by Minnesota State Patrol and St. Paul Police Department officers.
Chanting protesters surrounded the precinct as they loudly demanded justice for Floyd, the Star Tribune reported.
With officers under-equipped for the rioting, the crowd started vandalizing buildings and set an Auto Zone building on fire.
The business was set ablaze at approximately 10:30 p.m. and soon ignited explosive materials inside, KARE reported.
Toxic fumes spewed out of the AutoZone, making it difficult to breathe.
Firefighters managed to put out a majority of the AutoZone fire, but the store went up in flames yet again just hours later, the Star Tribune reported.
It was ultimately destroyed, as was a nearby Wendy’s, according to Bring Me The News.
Rioters also ignited a nearby affordable housing development, which was still under construction.
The flames at that location shot more than 100 feet into the air, the Star Tribune reported.
The fire at the two-story building quickly raged out of control and engulfed an entire city block.
The affordable housing development was completely destroyed, Bring Me The News reported.
Other burned buildings included 7-Sigma, a tavern, a Metro by T-Mobile, and a barbershop.
Firefighters crisscrossed the city all night responding to various blazes, often with police accompanying them to help control crowds, the Star Tribune reported.
The windows of a U.S. Bank were shattered by rioters wielding baseball bats, KARE reported.
Pharmacies and liquor stores were also among the locations the riotous mobs targeted, as well as a Cub Foods and a Target, according to the Star Tribune.
Video from FOX9 Reporter Karen Scullin showed the looters fighting to get a pile of TVs out of a Target store.
Scullin reported that the looters were also stealing groceries and clothes.
Every single shop in a nearby strip mall had its windows bashed in, including storefronts for charter school programs, the Star Tribune reported.
Many of the trashed businesses on East Lake Street are owned by immigrants.
WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner reported that the Target store was closed before the looting started, but looters smashed out the windows to get in.
Additional buildings that were vandalized or looted include a Dollar Tree, a Speedway, Precision Tune Auto, Dairy Queen, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Dominos, Ace Hardware, CVS, Sephora, Gamestop, H&M, an Apple Store, Urban Outfitters, Foot Locker, a laundromat, a floral store, a global market store, a pawn shop, hardware stores and restaurants, among others, Bring Me The New reported.
Someone also drove a vehicle through the windows of Car-X Tire and Auto.
Police deployed flashbangs and tear gas in an effort to disperse the looters, but because the precinct was under siege, they were unable to control all of the destruction the rioters were causing, according to KARE.
Protesters repeatedly attacked police with bottles, rocks and other projectiles throughout the night, the Star Tribune reported.
In some instances, citizens took it upon themselves to stop protesters from breaking into and stealing from various businesses and shops, KARE reported.
“I’m just sick of what is unfolding out here because this is not why we are out here, and this is not what we are asking for,” explained one protester who was stopping people from breaking into a tobacco shop.
A 59-year-old pawn shop owner is facing a murder charge after he fatally shot a man who allegedly tried to burglarize his business in the midst of Wednesday night’s chaos.
The conditions of the other four people shot by various other citizens throughout the night have not been released.
Just before midnight, Frey begged citizens not to “let tragedy beget more tragedy,” the Star Tribune reported.
“Please, help us keep the peace,” he implored.
Frey made the desperate request hours after he publicly questioned why now-former Officer Chauvin hasn’t been arrested for Floyd’s death, the Star Tribune reported.
“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey asked at the time. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.”
Frey is aware, or should be aware, that the medical examiner needs to rule Floyd’s death a homicide before anybody can be arrested for a homicide-related charge.
Earlier on Wednesday, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins urged citizens not to repeat the riotous behavior that occurred through the city the night before, the Star Tribune reported.
“I understand the frustration of my community members, but I’m really disappointed that people feel like the only way to express anger is through destroying our own community,” Jenkins said. “I mean, tomorrow, where are these moms…going to be able to get food and diapers for their children? We’re in a pandemic. Stores aren’t even open.”
Jenkins said that police have exercised restrained amid the mayhem, and that the destruction people have caused is not the proper way to protest.
“Go home and take care of your kids,” Jenkins said. “Go hug your mama and grandma. Why are you in the streets getting Covid so you can kill your family? Take your -ss home now.”