Minnesota governor activates National Guard as protests continue over death of George Floyd

Catherine Garcia

As demonstrators continue to protest the death of George Floyd, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Minneapolis and St. Paul and activated the Minnesota National Guard.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on Monday after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. The incident was recorded, and Floyd is heard saying, "I can't breathe." Over the last three nights, protesters have filled the streets of Minneapolis, demanding justice for Floyd and calling on authorities to arrest the officer, who was fired on Tuesday. On Wednesday night, the peaceful protests turned chaotic, with about 30 buildings set on fire and others damaged. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds, and some protesters threw bricks and bottles at squad cars.

In a statement, Walz said that it is time to "rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they're charged to protect. George Floyd's death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction."

On Thursday afternoon, police fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters outside of a St. Paul Target, and there were reports of looting and property damage at several businesses across the city. Local authorities are asking residents to stay home, with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter tweeting that the focus needs to be on Floyd and "advancing our movement and preventing this from ever happening again."

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