When the fires outraged by protesters at George Floyd’s death burned in Minneapolis early Friday, President Donald Trump warned: “When the looting begins, the shootings begin.”
He threatened to call in the National Guard, labeled the demonstrators demanding justice in Floyd’s detained death rowdy, and criticized Mayor Jacob Frey for losing control of the city.
“Any difficulty and we’ll take control, but when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted.
Hours later, Twitter added a message of public interest to the president’s tweet.
“This tweet violates our policies to glorify violence based on the historical context of the last line, its relationship to violence, and the risk that it could lead to similar actions today,” the release said.
On Thursday, the third night of the demonstrations, demonstrators concentrated on the 3rd district of the police department, the base for four officers involved in the incident, who were released after Floyd’s death.
Floyd died on Monday after an officer knelt on the back of his neck during an arrest.
The fire in the district’s train station house, which was one of several burning in Minneapolis, spread inside. Police cleared the building shortly after 10 p.m. when demonstrators violently entered and “set fire to several fires,” said department spokesman John Elder.
The Minnesota Guard said on Twitter that 500 soldiers had been activated for service in the Twin Cities. “Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to demonstrate peacefully,” it said.
Protesters are demanding that officials involved in Floyd’s arrest be charged. Looting and fires were common in the area where Floyd died on Monday.
“These thugs dishonor the memory of George Floyd and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted.
Frey replied early Friday, saying, “Weakness points a finger at someone else in times of crisis. Donald Trump knows nothing about Minneapolis’ strength.”
Companies in the partner cities nailed their windows and doors on Thursday to prevent looting.
The video of Floyd’s arrest provoked nationwide outrage when it showed the man who asked the officials to let him stand because he had difficulty breathing.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” said Floyd in the video. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
The officer held his knee around the neck for about eight minutes. According to a Minneapolis Fire Department report, doctors were working on an unresponsive Floyd in an ambulance, but were unable to find a pulse after multiple checks and at least one shock.
On Wednesday, Trump said he personally asked the FBI and Department of Justice to speed up their own independent investigation into Floyd’s death. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is also investigating.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Public Security in Minnesota, and Hennepin’s prosecutor, Michael Freeman, announced no significant updates on Thursday, except to promise a swift and thorough investigation into officials involved in the Floyd case .
Minnesota District attorney Erica MacDonald said it is imperative that the community understand how seriously the department takes the investigation into Floyd’s death.
“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening on our streets in Minneapolis and St. Paul and in some of our suburbs,” said MacDonald. “And I’m begging, I’m begging individuals to stay calm and have this investigation done.”