The fourth day of protests over the death of George Floyd


Thousands of people across the United States attended dozens of protests between Friday and Saturday over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 while being arrested violently and after an agent had pressed him to along the neck with the knee.

The most violent protests were in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where protesters violated the curfew imposed by the authorities, clashed with the police and set fire to and vandalized several buildings. In Los Angeles, protesters blocked a highway for a long time; in New York there were major protests and clashes in the Brooklyn neighborhood; in Atlanta, Georgia, hundreds of people protested outside CNN headquarters, throwing stones at the facade. There have also been demonstrations and clashes in Dallas, Texas; in Detroit, Michigan, where a 19-year-old died after someone was shot from a car; in Washington; in Portland (Oregon); in Boston (Massachusetts) and Las Vegas (Nevada), just to mention the most famous cities.

In many cities, demonstrations began peacefully and largely remained so, but violence and clashes increased on Friday afternoon. Things did not improve after news of the arrest of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing Floyd, who was formally accused of murder on Friday.

In Minnesota, after demonstrators set fire to a police station on Thursday night in Minneapolis, Governor Tim Walz (a Democrat), asked for the intervention of the National Guard – America’s main military reserve force – to help the police. Walz acknowledged that the Minneapolis police had lost citizenship trust and asked that the National Guard be treated as a peacekeeping force. After another day of demonstrations and clashes, the Pentagon on Friday ordered military police to prepare for a possible intervention in Minnesota.

During a press conference after Chauvin’s arrest on Friday, Minneapolis prosecutor Mike Freeman said that Chauvin had been charged with third-degree murder and involuntary murder. An indictment can only be prosecuted when there is sufficient evidence to support the charges beyond reasonable doubt. Now we have them, “said Freeman, explaining that in addition to the video of Floyd’s arrest, the prosecutor had considered several other pieces of evidence. In the Minnesota legal system, third-degree murder defines the situation in which, without intending to kill, another person is killed by performing a cruel and very dangerous action for others, showing that he has no regard for human life.

On Friday, the preliminary results of the autopsy on Floyd were also disclosed, according to which his death was not caused by suffocation (and therefore could not be attributed unambiguously to the pressure on the neck exerted by Chauvin). According to the autopsy, the intervention of Chauvin, a possible state of intoxication of Floyd and previous pathologies would have contributed to the death of Floyd. Prosecutor Freeman also said that according to the reconstruction of the arrest, Floyd had started complaining about the difficulty in breathing before he was stuck on the ground by Chauvin with one leg on his neck.

This is not to say that the prosecution’s allegations will be less easy to prove, he explained New York Times Richard Sentence, a law professor from the University of Minnesota. The videos of Floyd’s arrest seem to show very clearly that Chauvin’s use of the violence has been exaggerated and the eight minutes in which he pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck are an extremely long time and during which more occasions could have stopped. The fact that Chauvin has not been accused of first or second degree murder as asked by Floyd’s family, Sentence said, is instead understandable: accusations of voluntary murder would have made it necessary to prove that Chauvin wanted to kill Floyd, making a sentence much more complicated to reach.

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