Minneapolis Police Precinct Set Ablaze During George Floyd Protests

"Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts," Donald Trump tweeted in response to the protests.

Police station

Image via Getty/Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency

Police station

A Minneapolis police precinct was set ablaze Thursday night, as tensions continued to escalate over the police killing of George Floyd.

The New York Times reports demonstrators managed to breach the Police Department's 3rd Precinct, the base of the four officers who were involved in Floyd's recent death. Video and photos posted on social media appear to show demonstrators overrunning the station before it was set on fire.

MPD spokesman John Elder told NBC News that police and department personnel evacuated the building around 10 p.m. local time, right before civilians forcibly entered the station and "ignited several fires." It's unclear if anyone was injured during the incident.

The breach occurred during the third night of protest and unrest in Minneapolis, where a white officer was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck during an attempted arrest. The 46-year-old unarmed black man was seen face down on the ground, shouting to the officer, "Please, I can't breathe," before he appeared to lose consciousness. Floyd was transported to the hospital shortly after and pronounced dead.

Protests have since broken out across country, with demonstrators demanding justice for Floyd. The officers involved in the killing have been terminated; however, Minnesota officials have yet to determine if criminal charges will be pursued.

Though authorities and political figures have urged residents to avoid violence, Minneapolis has experienced two nights of looting and riots. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated the state's National Guard "to help protect Minnesotans." The National Guard confirmed Thursday night that 500 soldiers had been sent to St. Paul and surrounding areas.

We are here with the Minneapolis Fire Department ready to assist so they can safely do their mission. pic.twitter.com/FjsCJ5B8d0

Donald Trump also commented on the events, calling protesters "thugs" and saying he spoke to Governor Walz. He went on to say "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

....These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. 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!

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