MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parts of south Minneapolis were unrecognizable Thursday morning as damage stretched for miles following the second night of violent protests over the death of George Floyd.
In response to the wreckage, city leaders called for peace while acknowledging the anger and pain in the community after the death of a black man who was pinned under the knee of a white police officer.
The second night of protests started much like the first, with peaceful demonstrations Wednesday afternoon at the Powderhorn neighborhood intersection where Floyd was pinned down by a police officer. Like Tuesday night, violence later broke out after protesters marched to the 3rd Precinct police station, where they clashed with police in riot gear.
Over the next several hours, looters ransacked, vandalized and burned numerous buildings in the blocks around the 3rd Precinct. Video captured people running out of Target and Cub Foods with their arms full of merchandise. Meanwhile, fires shot up at various businesses and some burned without fire crews there to battle the flames.
Building (what’s left of it) on fire a couple blocks from the 3rd Precinct pic.twitter.com/gd2y0ajr9i
— John Lauritsen (@JDLauritsen) May 28, 2020
“Last night was a totally different, different crowd,” said Steve Peterson, who has been a bartender at Schooner Tavern for 25 years.
He said the customers are like family, but instead of getting ready to reopen, he’s now wondering how long they’ll be shut down.
Doors and windows were kicked out and heat from a fire across the street melted signs and siding. Nearby, AutoZone was also set on fire and destroyed.
“I teared up. I walk through here and I teared up and I said there’s got to be something I can do,” Verla Perry said.
A stranger handed Perry a trash bag and they went to work picking up the pieces- both literally and figuratively.
“It just moves you. Mentally, it moves you. You just have to do something to help your neighborhood,” Perry said.
Throughout the day, the 3rd Precinct continued to be the epicenter of tension between protesters and police.
Further down the street, looters ran in and out of Target and employees at Cub Foods were assessing damage inside their store.
“We shouldn’t have to go through this. This is our neighborhood. Now, what Target are you going to go to? What Cub are you going to go to? Now you have to go outside your neighborhood to get something to eat,” Kevin Williams said.
Williams said his heart hurts for George Floyd and his family, but it also pains him to see neighborhood businesses destroyed.
“Burning stuff up, that’s not the way to go. We can still get together and have a peaceful protest and do things in a better way. That’s how I feel about it you know,” Williams said.