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Mayor makes emotional call for peace after violent protests: "I believe in Minneapolis"

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The mayor of Minneapolis made an emotional plea for peace Thursday after the second night of protests that turned violent over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody Monday. 

George Floyd was seen in a disturbing video moaning and crying that he couldn't breathe as a Minneapolis officer continuously pressed his knee into the handcuffed man's neck. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The death sparked widespread outrage, demonstrations and calls for the officer to be charged. In Minneapolis Wednesday night, protests turned violent, with some protesters looting, setting fires and breaking windows. Violence flared up again the following night.

At a press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the protests stemmed from built-up anger and sadness "ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years." 

He said feeling anger and sadness is "not only understandable, it's right — it's a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived." 

Frey appeared to be holding back tears as he said, "I believe in Minneapolis … I love Minneapolis."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey CBS Minnesota

"And In believing in our city, we must believe we can be better than we have been," he said. "We must confront our shortcomings with both humility and hope. We must restore the peace so we can do this hard work together."

Frey said an "all out effort" will be implemented in the coming days to restore peace in the city, including calling in resources from the state and other jurisdictions and setting up a "unified command structure" to aid coordination between the agencies.

Later Thursday, Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard after the protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul. "It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they're charged to protect," Walz said in a statement.

"George Floyd's death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction," Walz added.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he understood the anger and frustration, but that as chief he can't allow criminal acts. He said the violence "compounds the trauma that already exists" in the community.

Arradondo said the large majority of the crowd protested peacefully, but a smaller group he believed were not from Minneapolis were behind the majority of the unrest. Wednesday night, officers began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who had surrounded the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct building, some of whom broke windows, CBS Minnesota reported.

"I can't breathe!": Minneapolis man dies after police confrontation 07:27

Arrandondo said the police response "shifted" when protesters began setting fires, which required officers to redirect resources to protect responding firefighters. 

Some protesters also went to what they believed to be the suburban home of Derek Chauvin, the officer seen in the video with his knee on Floyd's neck. 

Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident have been fired. The mayor is calling for criminal charges against Chauvin.

That decision will be made by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who has said he would review the findings of an investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension before making a charging decision. He promised it would be an "expedited" process.

Demonstrators went to Freemans home, as well, Wednesday night. The Associated Press said there was no violence reported at either home.

The FBI is also investigating whether the officers committed a civil rights violation.

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