A Minneapolis police station was set on fire on Thursday as officers trying to guard their police station retreated, allowing hundreds of protesters to swarm the station.
For the last three days, police kept a line around the station. But with Thursday’s protests continuing to swell into the evening, officers left their posts, giving demonstrators the opportunity to destroy the building.
Thursday marked the third straight day of protests in Minneapolis following the Monday death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who died in police custody.
Derek Chauvin, a now fired Minneapolis police officer, held a knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes, despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders. Floyd died moments later.
The protests have grown more tense each day. On Wednesday, demonstrations turned into looting, as a number of business were ransacked.
Protesters have echoed phrases such as “Black Lives Matter,” and, “No Justice, No Peace.” The Minneapolis protests were one of dozens held throughout the US on Thursday.
Demonstrators have called on Chauvin to be arrested for his role in Floyd’s death.
Earlier on Thursday, the Minnesota National Guard was activated to respond to the demonstrations.
President Donald Trump tweeted late on Thursday, blaming local politicians for the unrest.
"I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis," Trump said. "A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.
"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"