MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is warning people protesting the death of 46-year-old George Floyd for the second-straight day that violence will not be tolerated.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Arradondo said his department is committed to protecting people’s First Amendment rights, but he says not at “the expense of other’s personal safety.” He also acknowledged that most demonstrators are peacefully protesting.
“We cannot have members of our community engaging in destructive and criminal types of behavior,” Arradondo said.
Earlier Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for criminal charges against the officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“George Floyd deserves justice. His family deserves justice. The black community deserves justice, and our city deserves justice,” Frey said.
Floyd, 46, died Monday night following a forceful arrest. Police say Floyd resisted. Frey says he saw nothing in the video that warranted that kind of use of force. He also said the particular technique that was used is not authorized by the Minneapolis Police Department and should not be used.
Governor Tim Walz spoke Wednesday for the first time since Floyd’s death, saying he was glad to see the officers fired. He supports peaceful protests, especially those taking safety steps to protect against COVID-19. He has also been speaking with Mayor Frey and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
“Both want swift action once the facts of the investigation come in, and I will work with them to ensure that’s exactly what happens,” Walz said.
President Donald Trump also made his first public comments on Floyd’s death Wednesday, speaking in Florida at the now-canceled NASA and SpaceX Launch.
“Very sad event. Very, very sad, sad event,” Trump said. “We’re gonna look at it. We’re gonna get a report tomorrow when we get back and we’re gonna get a full report, but a very sad day.”
He later tweeted about Floyd’s death early Wednesday evening.
….I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Police released the names Wednesday of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin is the officer in bystander videos with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Tou Thao is the officer seen standing near the crowd of on-lookers. The other officers that are not seen in bystander videos are Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.