More than four dozen people were arrested when protesters and law enforcement faced off late Wednesday in south Minneapolis after an earlier march to protest the release from state prison of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd on May 25.
The fired police officer left Oak Park Heights prison Wednesday after posting $1 million bail. In anticipation of unrest, Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard and mobilized 100 State Patrol troopers and 75 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officers to help local law enforcement in case of trouble.
Chauvin was initially booked into the Ramsey County jail after he was charged in Floyd’s death and then moved to the state prison for security reasons. He is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
It’s unclear how Chauvin afforded the noncash bail, which was backed by a New Jersey-based bail insurer. Financial information tied to bond and bail postings isn’t public.
Wednesday evening, about 300 people marched peacefully from the site where Floyd died a few blocks north and back.
At one point, marchers paused to chant, “No justice, no peace!” They then made their way back down Portland Avenue toward E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, site of the Floyd memorial, while motorists and bystanders honked and raised their fists in solidarity.
“Black lives matter!” a young boy shouted from the window of a building on Portland.
Gabriel Black Elk, whose brother, Paul Castaway, was killed by police in Denver in July 2015, said he came to show his support for Floyd’s family. He believes Chauvin should not have been released.
“I’m out here as a family member too to show support and say today shouldn’t have happened. He should have stayed in there,” said Black Elk, an organizer for Native Lives Matter. “It’s tiring for us justice families to see these cops getting away with murder. It’s just too much. It’s too much to see it happen again and again.”
There were 51 arrests made by various law enforcement agencies in connection with the protests, Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Thursday.
Elder said 49 of the arrests were for misdemeanor offenses. The Hennepin County jail log shows many were cited for unlawful assembly. One person was arrested for fourth-degree assault and one wanted on a felony warrant, he said.
The state Department of Public Safety disclosed that 34 of the overall arrests were made by officers from the State Patrol and the DNR.
A live news feed from Unicorn Riot showed several people being ordered to get down on the ground in preparation for arrest on suspicion of illegal assembly.
Members of the National Lawyers Guild were on the scene offering legal support to protesters, and at least two of its members were arrested, Unicorn Riot reported.
Staff writers Paul Walsh, Pamela Miller and Chao Xiong contributed to this report.