As a police station burned, Trump threatened violence against those protesting a death in police custody.
A Minneapolis police station was overrun and set ablaze by protesters Thursday night as destructive demonstrations raged in the city and spread across the country overnight Friday after the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, in police custody.
He died after pleading, “I can’t breathe,” while a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck. The death set off days of continuing protests and scattered looting of stores in the city, as demonstrators denounced another in a long line of fatal encounters between African-Americans and law enforcement officers.
Early on Friday, officers in plastic face shields and carrying batons remained on some streets, which had largely cleared of protesters. Smoke rose on the city’s horizon. National Guard patrol vehicles were deployed, as firefighters worked nearby at the blackened shell of a building, still smoking, that housed a Family Dollar store.
Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said on Friday that he realized there was “no trust in many of our communities” but that order needed to be restored to “get the streets to a place where we can restore justice.”
President Trump, who previously called the video of Mr. Floyd’s death “shocking,” later called the protesters “thugs” on Twitter and said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” prompting the social media network to attach a warning to the tweet, saying that it violated the company’s rules about “glorifying violence.”
The spectacle of a police station in flames and a president appearing to threaten violence against those protesting the death of a black man in police custody — set against the backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic that has kept many residents from engaging with one another directly for months — added to the anxiety of a nation already plagued by health and economic crises.
Tera Brown, Mr. Floyd’s cousin, has said: “I want to see action. This was clearly murder.”
The demonstration near the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct grew more intense in the hours after prosecutors said that they had not decided whether to charge the officer videotaped pressing his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes.
The protests have spread across the state, leading to the evacuation on Thursday afternoon of lawmakers and employees from the State Capitol in St. Paul as a precaution.
Other protests — many peaceful, some convulsed by violence — were reported across the country.
The State Capitol in Denver was put on lockdown after someone fired a gun near a peaceful demonstration, and protests in Columbus, Ohio, turned chaotic as crowds surging up the steps of the State Capitol and broke windows, videos posted by news outlets showed. The Columbus Dispatch reported that officers also used pepper spray on large crowds of demonstrators downtown after a few protesters tossed smoke bombs and water bottles at lines of officers.
In Phoenix, hundreds of protesters marched toward the State Capitol with relative calm, according to news reports, before tense face-offs with police officers later in the night.
The anger and the rage in Minneapolis have been building for days.
After prosecutors announced on Thursday that they had not decided whether to charge the police officer who was caught on video with his knee pressed against the neck of George Floyd as the man begged for air, that rage turned to chaos.
Outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station house, the crowds surged, with some people tossing fireworks and other items at officers, while the police fired projectiles back.
The standoff soon spiraled out of control, with officers retreating from the police station in vehicles just after 10 p.m. Thursday local time as protesters stormed the building — smashing equipment, lighting fires and setting off fireworks, according to videos posted from the scene.
“We’re starting fires in here, so be careful,” one man could be heard shouting as sprinklers doused protesters who had burst inside. Flames rose from the front of the building as hundreds of protesters looked on, and soon smoke was billowing from the roof.
Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis said at a news conference Friday morning that he had made the call for officers to flee the Third Precinct, saying, “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life.”
Mr. Frey, a Democrat, said he understood the anger of the city’s residents but pleaded with people to stop destroying property and looting stores. “It’s not just enough to do the right thing yourself,” he said. “We need to be making sure that all of us are held accountable.”
Mr. Frey also gave a fiery retort to Mr. Trump’s tweets during a news conference Friday morning.
“Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions,” he said. “Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis.”
“Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis,” he added.
As the unrest escalated, Governor Walz ta activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency in the Twin Cities after he saw the level of destruction from Wednesday’s protest — buildings on fire, clashes with the police and looted stores. Five hundred members of the Minnesota National Guard were sent to Minneapolis and St. Paul, the state capital.
“Unfortunately, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and damaging public and private property,” Mr. Walz wrote in his proclamation. “These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators and other Minnesotans, and both first responders and demonstrators have already been injured.”
Twitter said early Friday that a tweet from President Trump suggesting that protesters in Minneapolis could be shot violated the company’s rules against “glorifying violence,” escalating tensions between the president and his favorite social media megaphone and injecting Mr. Trump into a growing crisis over police abuse and race that will be another test of his ability to lead an anxious nation.
The company prevented users from viewing Mr. Trump’s message without first reading a brief notice describing the rule violation. Twitter also blocked users from liking or replying to Mr. Trump’s post. But the site did not take the message down, saying it was in the public interest for the president’s words remain accessible.
Twitter also flagged a tweet posted by the official White House Twitter account on Friday morning, which had copied the words from Mr. Trump’s earlier post.
Mr. Trump began tweeting about the unrest in Minneapolis around 1 a.m., as cable news showed a Minneapolis police station engulfed in a fire set by protesters. He called the protesters “thugs,” threatened to send the National Guard, though the governor had already done so, and used language that echoed a controversial comment by a former Miami police chief in the late 1960s.
The Miami chief, Walter E. Headley, attracted national attention for using shotguns, dogs and other heavy-handed policies to fight crime in the city’s black neighborhoods. “We haven’t had any serious problems with civil uprising and looting, because I’ve let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he said in 1967, adding, “we don’t mind being accused of police brutality.”
Later on Friday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted about the National Guard’s presence in Minneapolis, saying “George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!”
Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign made a broad appeal to white grievances, and when racial conflict has arisen during his presidency, he has often avoided taking a clear position, including after a counterprotester was killed at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Mr. Trump condemned the death but told reporters there were “very fine people” on “both sides” of the matter.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., used the moment to excoriate the president, saying in his own tweet on Friday morning that he did not want to “lift” Mr. Trump’s words.
“I will not give him that amplification,” he said. “But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too.”
Peaceful protests against the death of Mr. Floyd turned chaotic in several cities on Thursday night into Friday morning, with the Denver State Capitol put on lockdown after someone fired a gun near a demonstration, and crowds in Columbus, Ohio, surging up the steps of the State Capitol and breaking windows.
Seven people were struck by gunfire at a protest in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday night as tensions there continued to escalate over the fatal shooting of a black woman by three white police officers in March. Videos posted on social media appeared to show shots being fired while demonstrators surrounded a police vehicle. No officers were among those injured, and it was too early to determine who was responsible, the Louisville Metro Police Department said.
In New York City, protesters gathered at Union Square Thursday afternoon to join a nationwide chorus against police brutality. But by the time the crowds dissipated several hours later into the dark streets, the police said they had arrested 72 people, five of them on charges they had assaulted police officers with street debris in what Chief Terence A. Monahan, the highest ranking uniformed officer, qualified as one of the most unruly and angry demonstrations in his many years in law enforcement.
“We didn’t expect this,” Chief Monahan said in an morning interview with the 1010 WINS radio station. “We didn’t expect them to be so confrontational and right off the bat charging police officers and pushing police officers.”
Images on social media showed at times chaotic scenes as the mostly young protesters, many of them wearing face coverings, clashed with uniformed officers. Some carried signs that read “No Justice, No Peace” and chanted “I can’t breathe.”
Leslie Herod, a state representative in Colorado, said she had heard several shots near the Denver Statehouse. The Police Department said no injuries were immediately reported.
In Ohio, the police could be seen rushing to the Capitol and ordering protesters to disperse, while downtown, officers used pepper spray on large crowds.
Similar episodes occurred in Phoenix, where hundreds of protesters marched toward the State Capitol relatively calmly before gatherings grew more tense through the night, as some protesters threw stones at the city’s Police Department.
Near the Phoenix State Capitol, a pregnant woman was photographed in apparent pain on the ground. A reporter wrote on Twitter that she had been pepper sprayed.
A video taken at the Denver protest appeared to show the driver of a black S.U.V. plowing through a crowd of protesters who had blocked traffic near the Statehouse. As a protester jumped off the car, the driver sped up and knocked into him. It was unclear whether the protester had been wounded.
“I share the immense anguish we all feel about the unjust murder of George Floyd,” Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said in a statement. “But let me be clear, senseless violence will never be healed by more violence.”
A CNN crew covering the protests is arrested on live television.
As cameras were rolling, capturing the efforts by the authorities to reestablish control over an area of Minneapolis still smoldering after a night of destruction, the police in Minneapolis arrested members of a CNN crew on live television.
The episode, which took place shortly after 5 a.m. local time, captured the tension on the streets of the city and came after a tumultuous night marked by burning buildings, looting and general unrest.
In the moments before the arrest, Mr. Jimenez could be heard clearly identifying himself as a reporter and offering to move wherever he and his crew were directed. Instead, he was placed in custody. The camera kept rolling even as it was left on the ground.
CNN had called on the Minnesota authorities, including the governor, to release the three journalists immediately.
The network had noted in a post on Twitter: “A black reporter from CNN was arrested while legally covering the protests in Minneapolis. A white reporter also on the ground was not.”
Josh Campbell, a CNN correspondent who was also reporting from Minneapolis, said, “There’s a level of heavy-handedness that we’re not used to.”
Alisyn Camerota, a co-host of the broadcast, defended her colleague during the broadcast. “Our correspondent couldn’t have been more cool and cooperative,” she said.
John Berman, her on-air partner, said the CNN legal department was now involved. “We’re not the story, tonight,” Mr. Berman said.
As the episode with the CNN crew played out, lines of police officers moved down the street, calling over loudspeakers for crowds to disperse.
Mr. Berman said that the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, had spoken with Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, who apologized and called the incident “totally unacceptable and totally inadvertent.” In a news conference, Mr. Walz said the arrests were “inexcusable” and that he personally took responsibility for them.
On Twitter, the Minnesota State Patrol said: “In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky said Friday morning that the protests over the fatal shooting by the police of a black woman reflected a city still affected by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
He also said that the protesters’ anger underscored distress over the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected black people.
Seven people were shot during demonstrations in Louisville on Thursday night as they protested the killing of the woman, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician. She was shot in her home in March during a narcotics investigation. The F.B.I. has said it is investigating the shooting.
“What we have seen is a response to a very concerning shooting of an E.M.T., a young woman who worked to save the lives of others here in Kentucky,” Mr. Beshear said on CNN.
Hundreds of demonstrators made their way through the city throughout Thursday evening. Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said the gathering began peacefully but escalated to involve assaults on officers and property damage.
Videos posted on social media appeared to show shots being fired while demonstrators surrounded a police vehicle. No officers were among those injured and it was too early to determine who was responsible, the Louisville Metro Police Department said.
Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville said early Friday morning that no officers discharged their weapons and that the violence came from within the crowd.
Mr. Beshear said the protests began as a demonstration to honor Ms. Taylor and demand justice for her.
“Some other folks, very late, more than three hours in, came in and ultimately instigated and caused some actions and turned it into something that it should not have been,” he told CNN.
Mr. Beshear read a statement from Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, that called on protesters to keep demanding justice but to do it peacefully.
“‘Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile and to bringing people together,’” he read. “‘The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence.’”
Hours before the protests started in Louisville, Mr. Beshear said the fatal shooting of Ms. Taylor pointed to flaws in the “no-knock warrant” system that the police used to enter her home. Police have said officers knocked on the door, announced their presence, then forced their way into the home after midnight before being met by gunfire.
Authorities had initially charged Kenneth Walker, Mr. Taylor’s boyfriend, with attempted murder for shooting a police officer in the leg during the intrusion.
Mr. Walker told investigators that he did not hear police announce themselves and was terrified when the door was knocked down.
The officers have since been placed on administrative leave but have not been charged with a crime.
Many police departments have sought to ban the use of neck restraints.
In the cellphone video of Mr. Floyd’s death, the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, presses a knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes until the man on the ground stops speaking or moving.
For police trainers and criminologists, the episode appears to be a textbook case of why many police departments across the country have sought to outright ban or limit the use of chokeholds or other neck restraints in recent years: The practices have too often turned fatal.
“It is a technique that we don’t use as much anymore because of the vulnerability,” said Mylan Masson, a former police officer who ran a training program for the Minneapolis police for 15 years until 2016. “We try to stay away from the neck as much as possible.”
Department records indicate, however, that the Minneapolis police have not entirely abandoned the use of neck restraints, even if the method used by Officer Chauvin is no longer part of police training.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s manual states that neck restraints and chokeholds are basically reserved only for when an officer is caught in a life-or-death situation. There was no such apparent threat during Mr. Floyd’s detention.
Criminologists viewing the tape said that the knee restraint not only put dangerous pressure on the back of the neck, but that Mr. Floyd was also kept lying on his stomach for too long. Both positions — the knee on the neck and lying face down — run the risk of cutting off the oxygen supply.
The investigation will be led by the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, Erica MacDonald, and by F.B.I. agents in Minneapolis. Attorney General William P. Barr and the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Eric Dreiband, are closely monitoring their inquiry, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and F.B.I. criminal investigators to the matter,” the department said in a statement.
The department noted that is a violation of federal law for an officer acting in an official capacity to deprive another person of his or her constitutional rights, including the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment.
State and federal prosecutors are running simultaneous investigations into Mr. Floyd’s death after a video showed Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, who is black, as Mr. Floyd’s body became limp.
Mr. Chauvin and three other officers at the scene, who did nothing to stop Mr. Chauvin, were fired on Tuesday, and Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis has called for Mr. Chauvin to be arrested and charged. The Minneapolis Police Department has identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
State prosecutors said early Thursday night that they had not yet decided whether to charge any of the four Minneapolis police officers.
The Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison, said on Friday that he expected charges to be filed against the officers. “I have every expectation that they will be,” he said on CNN. But he added the county attorney’s office had primary jurisdiction.
“I hope they are soon,” he added.
Mr. Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, called for justice on NBC’s “Today” show.
“I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,” Ms. Floyd said.
“I don’t want the protests to be for just show,” said Tera Brown, Mr. Floyd’s cousin, who appeared with two of Mr. Floyd’s brothers. “I want to see action.”
“This was clearly murder,” she added. “We want to see them arrested; we want to see them charged; we want to see them convicted for what they did.”
Stephen Jackson, the former N.B.A. player and now podcast host, told “The Today Show” on Thursday that the death of Mr. Floyd, a longtime friend, “destroyed” him.
“I jumped up, screamed, scared my daughter and almost broke my hand punching stuff because I was so mad,” Mr. Jackson said, describing his reaction when he learned the news.
Mr. Jackson told “The Breakfast Club” podcast that he grew up with Mr. Floyd in the Houston area. He joked that they looked so much alike that they could have the same father, so would refer to each other as “Twin.”
“Neighborhoods, they all get beefing,” Mr. Jackson said. “But you always have one guy that can go to all the neighborhoods and everybody will rock with him. Floyd was that guy.”
Reporting was contributed by Victoria Bekiempis, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Audra D.S. Burch, Maria Cramer, Sopan Deb, Katie Glueck, Russell Goldman, John Eligon, Matt Furber, Maggie Haberman, Christine Hauser, Jack Healy, Dan Levin, Neil MacFarquhar, Sarah Mervosh, Elian Peltier, Edgar Sandoval, Marc Santora Neil Vigdor, Mike Wolgelenter and Raymond Zhong.