The Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement Thursday condemning the killing.
“Based on the by-stander’s video from this incident, we witnessed a man in distress pleading for help,” FOP President Patrick Yoes said in the statement. “The fact that he was a suspect in custody is immaterial — police officers should at all times render aid to those who need it. Police officers need to treat all of our citizens with respect and understanding and should be held to the very highest standards for their conduct.”
Protests escalated throughout the week, both in Minneapolis and across the country, as demonstrators demanded justice. Police tear-gassed protesters in the city where Floyd was killed. Some protesters turned violent, setting fire to retail stores and a construction site on Wednesday night. One person was shot and killed by the owner of a pawnshop.
Tensions hit another breaking point Thursday when protesters set fire to a Minneapolis police building.
State police arrested Omar Jimenez, a Black CNN correspondent who was reporting on the ground, and his crew, even as Jimenez could be heard asking officers where they would like him to go. He was later released, and the governor issued an apology.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests early Friday morning by calling for violence.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
The phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was taken from a racist Miami police chief who fought against civil rights protesters in the 1960s.
Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said Friday in a statement that the arrest was a “welcome but overdue step on the road to justice.” Crump told HuffPost the family had no plans to address Trump’s tweets.
Freeman said Friday that his team moved quickly to gather evidence about the case and make a charging decision.
“This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer,” he said. “Normally these cases can take nine months to a year.”