George Floyd protests spread nationwide

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III, Daniella Diaz, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová and Nick Thompson, CNN

Updated 8:56 p.m. ET, May 30, 2020
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6:40 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Hennepin County attorney calls video "graphic and horrific and terrible"


Michael Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, said he didn't want to discuss evidence in the investigation into George Floyd's death but called the video showing the incident "graphic and horrific and terrible."

During the news conference, a reporter told Freeman: "I think people will be hard-pressed to understand how you can't bring charges at least against the officer who had his knee on the neck."

Freeman responded: "It is a violation of my ethics to talk and evaluate evidence before we announce our charging decision. And I will not do that. I will say this, that video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence and come to a meaningful decision and we are doing that to the best of our ability."


6:30 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Hennepin County attorney says he does "not condone" what happened to Floyd


Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman called the force used against George Floyd "excessive and wrong" at a news briefing Thursday afternoon.

"I assure you that if the person who had committed the act — and I do not condone or respect the act done by the police officer to Mr. Floyd — that was excessive and wrong. The question in my business is criminal. That's what I have to prove. There are cases you can quickly, easily evaluate," Freeman said.

Erica MacDonald, the US Attorney of the district of Minnesota, said her department is investigating if there was any federal and criminal violations.

"Police officers, by the nature of their job, have the authority to use a certain amount of force when they are executing their duties faithfully and honestly and in accordance with their policies. So a police officer, a law enforcement officer, has the ability to use the right amount of force, but not excessive force, not excessive force as defined by the law. That is what we are looking at with respect to any federal, criminal violation, is that use of excessive force," MacDonald said.

6:36 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

County attorney on charges in Floyd death: "We just can't rush this"

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Mike Freeman, Hennepin County attorney, said investigators need to take time to make sure they have all of the evidence in the death of George Floyd.

"We just can't rush this," Freeman said. "These need to be done right. Please give me and give me the United States attorney time to do this right and we will bring you justice."

The United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald echoed those sentiments, saying that officers in their professional capacity have the right to use force but not excessive force.

Her office is looking into possible criminal violations of rights in Floyd's death, she said.


6:28 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

US attorney encourages peaceful protests but says the destruction of property "has to stop"


Erica MacDonald, the US Attorney of the district of Minnesota, told residents that peaceful protests "are always acceptable" before calling for a cessation of destructive demonstrations.

"Peaceful protests are always acceptable. That is the cornerstone of our justice system. People have the right to say how they feel and to talk about their feelings and to protest peacefully, but the obstruction and destruction of property and harm to individuals has to stop. We are one Minnesota. We are at our best when we are at our worst. We have to come together and stop the needless destruction of property and life," MacDonald said Thursday afternoon during a news briefing.

On Wednesday night, Minneapolis' second day of protests transitioned to rioting and looting south of downtown, with people smashing their way into stores and setting businesses and other buildings ablaze.


6:16 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

FBI urges anyone with information on Floyd's death to come forward

Rainer Drolshagen, special agent in charge for the FBI, shared his condolences to George Floyd's family Thursday afternoon during a news conference and asked the public for its help in the investigation.

"I would like to say I express my complete condolences to the Floyd family and express my sympathy to the citizens of Minnesota as there is extreme anger, frustration and sadness," Drolshagen said. "We are conducting a swift but meticulous investigation."

Drolshagen went on to ask for "everyone that was present before, during and after the incident to come forward to help us build the best picture of what occurred."

"Each piece of the puzzle helps complete the big picture," he said.


6:20 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

US attorney vows to conduct "robust and meticulous investigation" into George Floyd's death


Erica MacDonald, the US Attorney of the district of Minnesota, told reporters that the investigation into the death of George Floyd will be the Department of Justice's "top priority."

"I am here to talk about and make sure the community and the media is aware that we are conducting a robust and meticulous investigation into the circumstances surrounding the events of May 25th, 2020 and the police officers actions on that evening," she said.

MacDonald added: "Minneapolis, our nation, really the world, has witnessed this incredibly and disturbing loss of life. My heart goes out to George Floyd. My heart goes out to his family. My heart goes out to his friends. And my heart goes out to the community. We are grieving, and we will continue to grieve."


5:38 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

St. Paul police urge public to avoid area of looting as squad cars are damaged

From CNN's Chris Boyette

The St. Paul Police Department is urging the public to avoid several parts of the city as looting and demonstrations have led to damage of police vehicles and bottles and rocks have been thrown at officers, the department tweeted Thursday.

“Squad cars have been damaged by rocks, bricks, bottles and other items being thrown at officers,” the department tweeted. “Officers are giving dispersal orders to groups gathered in various areas of the city, damaging property and attempting to steal from businesses.”

Police said affected areas include the "1400 block of University Ave, at an East Side business on the 1700 block of Suburban Ave. and more."

Read the tweets:

5:27 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Minnesota governor activating National Guard in wake of protests over George Floyd’s death

From CNN’s Jessica Jordan

Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday activating the Minnesota National Guard after protests and demonstrations erupted throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd's death this week sparked protests across the country after video emerged that shows the 46-year-old black man handcuffed and on the ground saying, "I can't breathe," as a police officer holds him down with a knee on his neck.

All four officers involved in the incident have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. But that has not quieted calls for them to face criminal charges.


5:13 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Chicago police officers required to complete mandatory training after George Floyd's death

From CNN’s Brad Parks

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown speaks during a news conference on May 26 in Chicago.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown speaks during a news conference on May 26 in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said that he has addressed the George Floyd death in Minneapolis with his command officers and has required that they address the incident with the officers under their command.

“I have ordered mandatory training on positional asphyxiation to be completed by every officer throughout the Department by the end of each tour today. I have also required officers to view the video of this incident,” Brown said in a statement. 

“What took place in Minneapolis earlier this week is absolutely reprehensible and tarnishes the bade nationwide, including here in Chicago. I want to make it clear that this behavior is not acceptable in Chicago, will not be tolerated under my command and quite frankly has no place in law enforcement anywhere," Brown said.

He said the department has been working to "develop authentic relationships and restore trust with our communities" and that incidents like this "certainly make our jobs more difficult."

“These actions are not reflective of the overwhelming amount of officers committed to constitutional policing nationwide. Any officer who abuses their power or stands by and allows it to happen does not deserve to wear the badge, period," Brown said in the statement.