The former Minneapolis police officer who was seen in a viral video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck before the unarmed black man died this week was taken into custody Friday by state authorities, according to John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as fires continued to burn from violent protests overnight as demonstrators demanded justice for Floyd.
“At this point we do not have any further information on charging decisions,” Harrington said at a news conference. “That will be coming from the county attorney, but we did want to let you know that he is in custody.”
“What the world has witnessed since the killing of George Floyd on Monday has been a visceral pain, a community trying to understand who we are and where we go from here,” the governor said at a news conference.
Acknowledging protesters’ pain, Walz said disorder in the streets distracts officials and the community from addressing the issues at hand.
“As we put a presence on the street to restore order, it is to open that space, to seek justice and heal what happened,” he said. “I will not in any way not acknowledge that there is going to be that pain, but my first and foremost responsibility to the state of Minnesota is the safety and security of all citizens. We cannot have the looting and recklessness that went on.”
Floyd was arrested Monday after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said. Outrage grew after a video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed and handcuffed, cried out that he couldn’t breathe.
Walz’s comments came as fires continued to burn Friday across the Twin Cities, he said, spewing ash “symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish.”
Among the buildings set ablaze overnight was the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct, where protesters chanted Floyd’s name and “I can’t breathe.” Some tossed fireworks toward the precinct, which is the one closest to where the incident was captured on video.
State police, donning protective gear and carrying batons, lined up Friday morning near the site littered with debris and sprayed mace at protesters who got too close. Some responded by throwing projectiles at the officers as others fled.
More than 500 Minnesota National Guard personnel mobilized to several locations in the Minneapolis area, including banks, grocery stories and pharmacies.