Good morning, and welcome to our coverage of protests in US cities over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was killed when he was arrested by four Minneapolis police officers and one knelt on his neck.
Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe” were reminiscent of the 2014 killing in New York of Eric Garner, a case which fuelled the first wave of Black Lives Matter protests. A new wave of such protests has now hit the US, from Minneapolis in the north to Portland on the west coast, from New York and Washington on the east coast to Atlanta in the south.
This morning, Minnesota governor Tim Walz has released a statement on Twitter, saying “Minnesotans are asking for and deserve confidence that we can respond to this crisis, and we will. We are continuing to coordinate efforts at the state and local level while accessing resources from across the country to keep our communities safe. I urge for peace at this time.”
Here’s the introduction to our main news report, filed by Chris McGreal from Minneapolis and other correspondents:
Protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd ignited once again on Friday, as Minneapolis faced another night of chaos and demonstrators clashed with police in cities across the US.
Gatherings were largely peaceful during the day as protesters marched from Los Angeles to New York, but many demonstrations turned volatile as the night wore on.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd died on Monday after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, protesters ignored an 8pm curfew set by the state’s governor, with thousands pouring on to the streets for a fourth straight night. In Atlanta, protesters set a police car ablaze and broke windows at CNN’s headquarters, prompting Georgia’s governor to declare a state of emergency.
Donald Trump’s reaction to the shooting has caused consternation on all sides, many accusing the president of acting only to ratchet up the tension.
On Friday, the president tried to excuse his swiftly infamous “looting leads to shooting” tweet, but many saw it as a president inciting violence against American citizens. Trump also expressed his “deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of George Floyd”.
Overnight, he turned to electioneering on the back of the protests, riots and looting.
For now, as daylight breaks across America on a warm last weekend in May, things are relatively calm. We’ll be here all day with coverage, Tom Lutz taking over from me at 9am ET.
In the meantime, here’s some further reading from Tom McCarthy, our national affairs correspondent, on what has changed in six years since the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown … and what hasn’t: