FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN WASHINGTON
In jail. Mike Freeman, Hennepin County attorney in Minneapolis has ordered the arrest of Derek Chauvin, the policeman taken from a video while pressing his knee with all his body weight on the neck of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African American killed last Monday. There are two counts: Third degree murder, a crime similar to our manslaughter e manslaughter, comparable to pre-intentional murder. At a press conference, Freeman explained that the investigators collected enough evidence for the indictment, putting together the clips, passers-by testimonies and the medical report.
The prosecutor added that the restraining measure arrived in record time, while investigations into the three other agents implicated in George’s death. That Monday afternoon, two patrols checked Floyd, who offered no resistance. And none of the men in uniform stopped the colleague, while the suspect lying on his stomach on the asphalt begged: I am not breathing, you are killing me. Indeed a new video, broadcast by Cbs, shows how two agents held George still while Derek Chauvin took a position above him. Floyd stopped breathing three minutes before Chauvin finally raised his knee.
The spontaneous movement that invaded the streets of Minneapolis, after two nights of fire and looting, discussed throughout the day. Most apparently consider the judicial authorities’ decision is insufficient, although Chauvin faces a 20-year prison sentence. But it is difficult to ask the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which must limit itself to ascertaining personal criminal liability, for a more general, political response.
Yesterday the most popular leaders among the African American community spoke, starting with Barack Obama. The former president writes in a statement that George’s death should not be considered normal in America in 2020. Obama asks magistrates to quickly do justice and invites everyone to defeat racism and fanaticism.
The democratic candidate Joe Biden he telephoned George’s family and then, from his home in Delaware, said that bad cops are punished. Finally, an appeal similar to that of Obama: None of us can be silent before an invocation such as “I can’t breathe”. Who is silent about an accomplice.
But the tension is rekindled with tweets arriving from the White House in Washington. Donald Trump post this message: The hooligans are dishonoring George Floyd’s memory and I won’t let that happen. I just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is at his disposal. We are ready to take control in the face of every difficulty, but when the looting begins we also start shooting. The managers of the social platform reported the president’s flash: This tweet violated our rules on the exaltation of violence. However, we have decided not to obscure it as it may be in the public interest. In another post, the president reproaches Governor Tim Walz and to Mayor Jacob Frey, both Democrats, a total lack of leadership. Final warning: Get the city under control or send the National Guard to put things right.
In reality, the National Guard, which depends on the governor, has already been deployed in the city for a few days. About 500 soldiers who have so far failed to stem the riots of the night between Thursday and Friday. And in particular the fire that started in the Third Police District, the command on which Agent Chauvin and the other three depended.
An assault broadcast live on TV: images destined to remain as evidence of this new cycle of riots. Also on Thursday, the demonstrators made appointments in front of the building, protected by a cordon of agents in anti-riot trim and by shooters chosen on the roofs. But the deployment had no deterrent effect. The crowd tightens more and more. Someone throws stones, bottles, firecrackers. On the other hand, it is answered with irritating spray, tear gas. At 10 pm Mayor Frey, as he said himself, asks the police to withdraw. It is justified with these words: The symbolism of a building cannot weigh more than the importance of life. As if to say: we risked a massacre. A traumatic surrender, of which we do not remember precedents and which complicates the situation.
Governor Walz again assured that the course of justice will be rapid, but at the same time it is committed to restoring order, to protecting the security and property of all citizens. Meanwhile, the protest extends to the rest of the United States: New York, Denver, Los Angeles, Columbus, Memphis, Portland, Phoenix. The wave continues to grow, hour after hour.
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