Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., called for peace in Minneapolis on Thursday as protests rage over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was handcuffed and pinned on the ground by his neck by a Minneapolis police officer earlier this week.

Floyd’s death has sparked protests in the city, with buildings burning, stores looted, and demonstrators clashing with police using riot gear. Omar, who represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Minneapolis, called for peace in the city during comments made to reporters on Thursday.

GEORGE FLOYD’S COUSINS SPEAK OUT ABOUT HEARTBREAK OVER HIS DEATH IN MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CUSTODY

A protester runs away from where police deployed chemical irritants near the 3rd Precinct building in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, during a protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody earlier in the week. (Christine T. Nguyen/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

A protester runs away from where police deployed chemical irritants near the 3rd Precinct building in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, during a protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody earlier in the week. (Christine T. Nguyen/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

PROTESTERS CLASH WITH MINNEAPOLIS POLICE AFTER GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH

“It’s heartbreaking what took place last night, and continues to happen, to watch our city burn is one of the most devastating things to us,” Omar said. “I’m asking for the community to step up and show us how to organize a peaceful protest so people are not taking advantage of the hurt people are feeling.”

Omar also warned that the protests could feed a cycle of violence, potentially leading to more people hurt at the hands of the police.

“To me, it’s important for people to realize that violence begets violence,” she said. “More force brings loss of life and devastation. We have to find a balance here. We have to be able to peacefully protest but work to protect one another.”

ILHAN OMAR: MINNESOTA OFFICER SHOULD BE ‘CHARGED WITH MURDER’ IN GEORGE FLOYD DEATH

Omar also warned that such gatherings in the street could put a dent in the progress her state has made in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, giving the disease more opportunity to spread between people who are largely not observing social distancing measures. She said the protests are “probably going to exasperate the problems we have in terms of the public health crisis.”

Omar made similar comments calling for peace online Wednesday night.

“Our anger is just. Our anger is warranted,” she said of the feelings many are feeling over Floyd’s death. “And our priority right now must be protecting one another.”

She added: “We should and must protest peacefully. But let us end the cycle of violence now.”

Omar has also said that the officer who pinned Floyd down should be “charged with murder.”

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Floyd, 46, died Monday night after he was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, along with three other police officers involved in the incident, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired from the force Tuesday. On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey demanded the arrest of Chauvin, the police officer seen on camera kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to breathe.

The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday morning that it has made an investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority.”

Fox News’  Lucia Suarez Sang, Barnini Chakraborty and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.

Tyler Olson 2020-05-28 21:58:24

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