After a night of chaos as protests erupted late into the night in more than 30 cities across the United States amid anger over the killing of George Floyd, President Donald Trump did not seem to be in a conciliatory mood on Saturday. In a four-tweet thread, Trump warned that the protesters who had gathered outside the White House Friday night “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen,” if they had managed to breach the White House fence. Trump also praised the Secret Service officers that confronted the protesters who gathered at Lafayette Park Friday night as the White House was placed under lockdown. The president also dismissed the hundreds of people who gathered outside the White House Friday, saying they had “little to do with the memory of George Floyd.”
The protests that took place outside the White House Friday, were only a small slice of the demonstrations that engulfed dozens of cities across much of the United States as thousands took to the streets to protest police violence. Protests that began peacefully quickly devolved into chaos as the night progressed, leading to lots of damaged property and at least two people killed. In Detroit, a man fired shots from a vehicle into demonstrators and killed a 19-year-old man while in Oakland one Federal Protective Service Officer died after he was shot.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed Monday, protesters ignored a curfew as fires burned throughout the city and the governor recognized authorities are not able to contain the growing demonstrations. Although authorities had warned they would more forcefully respond to protesters, the governor later recognized the demonstrations had become too overwhelming. “We do not have the numbers,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said. “We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground.” The governor warned the same chaos would likely reign on Saturday as the Pentagon reportedly ordered the Army to put military police units on alert at Trump’s request. “We are out here because we, as a generation, realize things have to change,” one protester said.
In Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, thousands of protesters filled the streets and police arrested lots of people amid violent clashes that led to injuries. “We don’t ever want to see another night like this,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter. There were also violent scenes out of Atlanta where fires burned and windows were smashed at the CNN Center, the network’s headquarters. The mayor called on protesters to go home. “This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.,” she said. “This is chaos.” In Portland, police declared a riot as the mayor declared a state of emergency and instituted a curfew. In Los Angeles, police also declared an unlawful assembly as protesters clashed with police for hours after a peaceful demonstration turned violent. A demonstration in Houston, where Floyd grew up, also turned chaotic and at least a dozen people were arrested. Clashes between protesters and police were also reported in Dallas and San Jose, Calif.
The protests broke out hours after Derek Chauvin, the white officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.