Crowds of people protesting the death of George Floyd gathered in downtown Los Angeles and blocked the 101 Freeway Wednesday night.
Floyd, an African American man from Minneapolis, died Monday while in police custody. A video of the arrest went viral as it showed a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd tells the officer that he can’t breathe in the video, but he continued to be held in that position and later died. The four officers involved in the incident were fired and face criminal charges for the death.
Large protests took place Wednesday night in Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Videos on social media show lines of people blocking both lanes of the 101 Freeway in L.A. and attacking police cruisers as they navigate the crowds.
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) May 28, 2020
— Liz Habib (@LizHabib) May 28, 2020
The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department issued a message urging against violence during the protest.
“Peaceful demonstrations are a hallmark of our country. Violence is unwarranted and takes away from the message. I urge all of us to protest peacefully for the sake of everyone’s public safety,” wrote sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Peaceful demonstrations are a hallmark of our country.
Violence is unwarranted and takes away from the message.
I urge all of us to protest peacefully for the sake of everyone’s public safety.
-Alex Villanueva, Sheriff of Los Angeles County pic.twitter.com/rzxKNnk18C
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) May 28, 2020
Floyd’s death is currently being investigated by the FBI and Minnesota’s state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. After the video of his arrest circulated across social media, many celebrities, including LeBron James, John Boyega and Kim Kardashian, called for justice.