A white policeman has been charged with murder and manslaughter after being filmed kneeling on the black man’s neck. For months the country had been gripped by disease, mass unemployment and an apocalyptic economy but now outrage at the police is all that matters here. As I stood on the ravaged streets of Minneapolis in the early hours of yesterday, with the thousands of demonstrators protesting Mr Floyd’s fatal arrest, it didn’t take long before their anger once again turned to violence.
But they were no longer alone.
Deadly protests broke out in more than 30 US cities from the East to West coasts and forced many to declare states of emergencies.
Two Federal Protective Service officers (private security employed by the Government) were shot – one fatally – in Oakland, California, and at least 7,500 demonstrators took to the city’s streets.
In Detroit, a 19-year-old protester was shot dead by a group of men, while police were seen throwing a 20-year-old woman violently to the floor in New York.
Phoenix, Denver and Houston were all left vandalised as hundreds of people were arrested. Yesterday Donald Trump blamed the violence on those that oppose him.
The President used Twitter to call into question the motives of protesters insisting there were “organised groups that have nothing to do with George Floyd”. He blamed anti-fascist groups, known as Antifa, and the “radical left” for the unrest across the States. He tweeted: “It’s’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others.”
Earlier he appeared to gloat that rioters were damaging his much-hated CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
He tweeted: “In an ironic twist of fate, CNN HQ is being attacked by the very riots they promoted as noble and just. Oops.”
It came just days after Twitter was forced to mark Mr Trump’s tweets as “glorifying violence” after he posted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Fearing all-out war across America, he has instructed soldiers in North Carolina, New York, Colorado and Kansas to be put on “ready to move” orders.
It is the first time since the 1992 LA riots such a call has been made.
The order came as the Secret Service was confronted by a five hour demonstration at the White House as Mr Trump sat inside.
Yesterday, he said the protesters “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen,” had they broken in. Despite a global pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans and left 40 million out of work, people in the States now have greater concerns.
While they fight to be heard, Mr Trump wages his war against Twitter and postal voting in the election – all while appearing to encourage looters to be shot.
He had tweeted: “These THUGS are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen but when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
America is a nation in crisis – one seared by violence against its people, plagued by a deadly disease and reeling from a devastating blow to its economy. None more so than Minneapolis, a melting pot of immigrants maligned by Mr Trump and his administration.
A walk down burning Lake Street shows the contempt felt for the US leader who has fanned the flames of unrest.
“F*** Trump,” can be seen hundreds, if not thousands of times, sprayed on burnt-out and looted businesses.
Charging sacked police officer Derek Chauvin with the murder of father-of-two Mr Floyd did not quell the anger. It fuelled violence after it emerged the officer’s knee had been on the 46-year-old’s neck eight minutes 46 seconds.
For two minutes and 53 seconds of that Mr Floyd was unresponsive.
Chauvin’s police picture was released yesterday – the day after his former beauty queen wife of 10 years filed for divorce.
Laos-born Kellie, a 2018 Mrs Minnesota, announced through lawyers that she made the decision after being upset by Mr Floyd’s death.