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As curfews go into effect, Twin Cities residents brace for whatever night holds

Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twin Cities residents, many of them under curfew, waited on edge Friday night, boarding up buildings and closing down shops as fears of weekend chaos and unrest in the streets of the Twin Cities metro area grew, following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died under the restraint of Minneapolis police.

As an 8 p.m. curfew fell over Minneapolis, St. Paul and several suburban communities, announcements were made to demonstrators at various sites that they were to go home. At Minneapolis' Third Precinct police headquarters, which was torched early Friday, State Patrol officers fired tear gas at protesters just before the curfew took place.

Earlier Friday evening, buildings sat charred from arson the night before, hundreds of peaceful marchers stopped traffic on the iconic Hennepin Avenue bridge near downtown Minneapolis, then marched onto Interstate 35W and back into downtown. But others were poised to keep going into the night, despite the government orders to stay off the streets.

Some leaders had hoped for a reprieve from several nights of unruly demonstrations after authorities announced around midday that Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin had been arrested and was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Video taken Monday night showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than 81/2 minutes, while Floyd fell unresponsive and was later pronounced dead.

Near the burned Third Precinct police building, many in a crowd of hundreds took a knee with their fists in the air. Leaders in the crowd said they wouldn't abide by the curfew if all four officers at the scene of Floyd's arrest weren't arrested and charged.

"They can't arrest us all," they said. But when the tear gas was launched, many fled the area.

 

Cousins Thomas Mante and DeWayne Counce, who are black, stood on the corner of Lake Street and S. 22nd Avenue on Friday evening as several demonstrators stood in front of a line of National Guardsmen and vehicles parked across Lake Street.

"It's a humanity thing," Counce said.

"People are fed up," Mante said.

The two said they're glad Chauvin was arrested and charged, but said the third-degree murder count was too low. "They're basically saying it wasn't intentional," Counce said.

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