A police station in Minneapolis was set on fire Thursday night, according to local news outlets. The turbulent scene comes days after protests erupted in the twin cities stemming from the tragic murder of George Floyd.
Video captured from the Third Precinct police station shows protestors entering the building as fire alarms and sprinklers are triggered by the activity. They chanted George Floyd’s name and the rallying cry “I can’t breathe.” According to FOX9, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had police evacuate the building prior to any significant damage. The Third Precinct stands in close proximity to where Floyd was killed on Monday.
On Twitter, the city of Minneapolis advised anybody in or around the area to retreat, saying, “We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building.” The city warned, “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.”
Frey explained that he made the decision to sacrifice the building out of concern for both the officers and the public. Frey also asked for assistance from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, requesting that he call in the National Guard to protect lives and stem the ongoing violence that was brought on by the city’s delayed decision to charge the officers involved in Floyd’s death. Hennepin County prosecutors claim they need more evidence.
According to CNN, state police arrived on the scene of Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct in the early hours of Friday morning. They stood protecting the site that was set ablaze hours earlier and cautioned anybody near the scene to move away. CNN cameras were there documenting the event, and three of their staff were arrested for “violating police orders.” Omar Jimenez was handcuffed on live TV. Producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez are reported to have also been arrested and released.
Roughly 500 members of the National Guard arrived in Minneapolis by Friday morning. They are now tasked with restoring order as prosecutors deliberate on whether to bring murder charges against George Floyd’s killers.