GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People across the country protested on Thursday night in reaction to the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed African-American man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.
Protests first erupted on Tuesday, the day after Floyd’s death, and the cellphone video that caught it has spread widely on social media.
In the video, Floyd can be seen on the ground under the police officer’s knee. Minutes later, Floyd stops talking and moving and then later was pronounced dead.
While some protests remained peaceful, others turned violent. The Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station was set on fire and forced the department to evacuate the building. Some protesters brought signs and threw rocks, while police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller III reacted to Floyd’d death, saying, “I’m personally disgusted at the way George Floyd was treated, and I’m offended as a professional, like many of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, of the actions of these officers. I wanted to reassure our community that this behavior and these actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our agency or our community.”
Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green told WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, that he watched the video of Floyd’s arrest.
“Officers on the job have the duty to intervene whenever they see any type of excessive force and this was clearly excessive force,” said Green.
During a press conference on Thursday, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the video was enough evidence to bring murder charges against the officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
“If a civilian would have done what this officer did, what would we do? Arrest them,” said Craig.
The prosecutor’s office in Minneapolis says they don’t want to “rush” the process of charging the officers involved in Floyd’s death and they want to look at all of the evidence first.