MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 50 people were arrested overnight following a mostly peaceful protest over the release from custody of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd.
The Minneapolis Police Department says that 51 people were arrested between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, mostly for misdemeanor unlawful assembly. Additionally, one person was taken into custody for probable cause fourth-degree assault, and another was arrested on a felony warrant.
WCCO-TV photographers recorded late Wednesday as protesters confronted law enforcement officers near the 5th Precinct police station in south Minneapolis. While the situation was tense, it remained mostly peaceful relative to unrest seen in the Twin Cities earlier this year.
The late night protest stemmed from a march Wednesday evening in south Minneapolis. Protesters had gathered at the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection, where Floyd died on Memorial Day after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes. Some demonstrators moved to the 5th Precinct building off of 31st Street and Nicollet Avenue, where only about 100 protesters remained by late Wednesday night.
When one protester was asked why she were still out there, she said: “I’m still here because there’s no justice. I’m willing to stand out here until there’s justice.”
Earlier Wednesday, Chauvin was released from prison after posting $1 million bail. Prior to that, he’d spent months at the Oak Park Heights correctional facility. The other three former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death have also been released on bail.
Ahead of the evening march, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Gov. Tim Walz activated Minnesota National Guard troops, with the governor saying the move was made, “Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Minnesotans.” Members of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were also deployed to quell any possible violence.
When cellphone video of Floyd’s fatal arrest went viral in late May, it sparked days of protest and nights of unrest in the Twin Cities. Hundreds of businesses were damaged, looted and burned; some were completely destroyed. Among the buildings destroyed was Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct police station.
When word spread Wednesday about Chauvin’s release from custody, many people in Minneapolis expressed anger and frustration. Several said they’re working to redirect their emotions toward healing and continuing to fight for justice.
“It’s hurtful to our community,” activist Alicia Smith said. “It’s devastating and we continue to sort of take these blows even though we know that it is a part of the criminal justice system, it doesn’t make it easier for us to deal with that pain.”
More protests are scheduled for Thursday evening.