The Minneapolis police officer whose actions are believed to have led to the death of George Floyd was arrested Friday as protesters burned down 130 businesses and a police precinct. Derek Chauvin was charged with third degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd.
Chauvin had already been fired over the arrest of Floyd, which was caught on video. The video showed Chauvin stepping on the neck of Floyd for about nine minutes Monday, as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe, asked for help, and then became unresponsive.
Floyd later was pronounced dead at the hospital. Three other officers on the scene who did not help Floyd were also fired over the incident.
Floyd’s death has sparked widespread anger over Chauvin’s actions, as well as many renewed accusations of a pattern of racism and police brutality against blacks.
Violent protests erupt
Political figures have been calling for Chauvin’s arrest since Tuesday, and there have been three days of violent protests, fires, and looting since the video became public.
Nearly all of the businesses in the area have been burned or looted, and Thursday night protesters also broke into the Police Department’s Third Precinct in the area where Floyd was arrested, stole evidence, and then set the precinct on fire. Police evacuated from the precinct before it was burned.
Police and firefighters have been reluctant to try to stop the protests because of risks to their safety. On Friday, 35 National Guard troops were deployed to the scene, but it is unclear whether that small number will be much help in restoring order to the area.
Other smaller protests also took place in other areas of the country, including Louisville, Kentucky, where seven people were shot Thursday night.
Klobuchar didn’t prosecute Chauvin
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) is now under fire for failing to prosecute Chauvin for his part in shooting a man who brandished a weapon at police in 2006. Klobuchar left the prosecutor’s office before a grand jury decided in 2008 not to charge Chauvin or the five other officers involved in the shooting.
There were at least 10 complaints against Chauvin for excessive force while he was a police officer in Minneapolis.
Although the circumstances don’t seem to indicate that Klobuchar was at fault for failing to prosecute Chauvin in the 2006 shooting, it may impact her consideration as a possible running mate to Joe Biden for the November election.
Yahoo News pointed out that Klobuchar declined to prosecute more than two dozen police-involved shootings while she was a prosecutor in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis. Instead, Klobuchar aggressively pursued smaller crimes.