For the second day in a row, police in Minneapolis used tear gas during protests over the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by police.
The demonstrations began peacefully, but later rocks and bottles were thrown and police deployed tear gas, NBC affiliate KARE11 of Minneapolis reported.
A standoff between police and some demonstrators occurred near a police precinct Wednesday evening.
It was not immediately clear if there were any arrests.
A KARE11 reporter livestreaming the protest reported that an AutoZone and a Target had been looted. Video showed the AutoZone with broken windows and spraypaint. One bystander was warning people against damaging the business, saying it had nothing to do with Floyd’s death.
Flames and smoke could be seen on the roof a commercial building, and authorities were responding, aerial video showed late Wednesday.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told the local FOX 9 TV station that he ordered the use of tear gas on the crowd after violence and looting.
He has said that the department is dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights, but not at the expense of others’ personal safety.
Protesters also gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, NBC Los Angeles reported. At times, the demonstrators were on the 101 freeway and blocking traffic.
Some people surrounded two California Highway Patrol vehicles and appeared to damage at least one of them.
“We hear your anger & your pain. We will always facilitate freedom of speech. Period. All we ask is that protests are held in a safe & legal manner,” the LAPD tweeted.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes.
His death was captured on video, and he can be heard pleading with the officer, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe.”
The four police officers involved in Floyd’s detainment, which stemmed from a report of a forgery, were fired Tuesday. The officer seen with his knee on Floyd has been identified as Derek Chauvin.
Minneapolis police identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday called for charges to be filed against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck. Police had said Floyd resisted arrest, but Frey said “I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.”
His death is being investigated by the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Video of Floyd’s death has sparked outrage, including from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who tweeted about it on Tuesday and on Wednesday called it a “tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but a part of an ingrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country.”
President Donald Trump also weighed in on Wednesday. “My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!” he tweeted.
Bridgett Floyd, Floyd’s sister, said on NBC’s “TODAY” show Wednesday morning that she wants all of the officers at the scene to be charged with murder.
“They murdered my brother. He was crying for help,” she said.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, which represents the department’s 800-plus rank-and file officers, asked the public not to rush to judgment before all video can be reviewed and a medical examiner’s report is released.
On Tuesday, clashes broke out between police and some protesters in Minneapolis, and police deployed tear gas.
“We cannot have members of our community engaging in destructive or criminal types of behavior,” said Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief said.
He said the vast majority of people protesting have been doing so peacefully.
Arradondo said his officers showed restraint when there was property damage, but he ordered gas to be used once a fence was breached and after some people were in a parking facility “which had access to our Minneapolis squad cars and weapons.”
He said there were around five people arrested Tuesday, not at the precinct where demonstrations were held but at an adjacent business across the street, and he said the arrests were burglary related.