Updated: May 27, 2020 06:22 PM
Created: May 27, 2020 12:26 PM
Members of the community have returned to the scene in south Minneapolis where a white police officer knelt on the neck of a black man, who later died.
Protesters were blocking traffic Wednesday at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to demand justice for George Floyd, whose death has sparked outrage worldwide.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo provided the following statement Wednesday:
"Today a group of individuals [has] convened at the 3rd Precinct who have participated in assaultive behavior and destruction of property. Their actions are placing people at great risk of being seriously injured. We will continue to safeguard 1st Amendment speech and assembly however that should not come at the expense of other's personal safety. I'm urging those who are gathering to please do so peacefully. Criminal behavior will not be tolerated."
A video of the incident, which was captured by Darnella Frazier, shows the Minneapolis Police officer on top of George Floyd while he repeatedly gasps and pleads, "Please, please, I can't breathe."
Also demanding justice is George Floyd's sister, Bridgett Floyd. She said she has not seen the video of her brother but that she has heard enough.
"It's wrong, period. It's wrong," Bridgett Floyd said. "I don't understand how someone could possibly let an individual go out like that."
The four officers who were involved in the arrest that led to George Floyd's death were fired on Tuesday. But Bridgett Floyd said that's not enough — she wants to see those men behind bars.
The family's lawyer, Ben Crump, is a prominent civil rights lawyer who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Ahmaud Arbery. He said they have already gathered more video from witnesses as well as restaurants in the area.
"Just imagine, take a stopwatch and put nine minutes and set the timer on your cellphone and just imagine what George Floyd endured for those nine minutes begging for breath, begging for life," Crump said.
Meanwhile, Crump and George Floyd's family released the following statement regarding protests Wednesday:
The community is understandably and rightfully upset by the wrongful death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, and their grief and outrage are pouring out onto the streets of Minneapolis. We share these painful emotions and demand justice, but we also urge everyone who wishes to raise their voice to engage in peaceful protests and observe social distancing.
We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we must not endanger others during this pandemic. We will demand and ultimately force lasting change by shining a light on treatment that is horrific and unacceptable and by winning justice.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Bishop Bernard Hebda released the following statement Wednesday:
"The video of George Floyd in police custody Monday evening is gut wrenching and deeply disturbing. The sadness and pain are intense. Let us pray for comfort for his grieving family and friends, peace for a hurting community and prudence while the process moves forward. We need a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and veritable justice.
"Particularly at this time when human fragility has been brought into focus by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are called to respect the worth and dignity of each individual, whether they be civilians in need of protection or law enforcement officers charged with providing that protection. All human life is sacred. Please join our Catholic community in praying for George Floyd and his family, and working for that day when “love and truth will meet [and] justice and peace will kiss” (Psalm 85)."
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