0422 GMT July 14, 2020
The sometimes violent demonstrations hit cities from New York to Atlanta in a tide of anger over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer shown in video footage pinning Floyd down on the street with his knee, was charged with murder in the case on Friday.
Chauvin, who was dismissed from the police with three fellow officers the day after Monday’s fatal encounter, was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges for his role in the death of Floyd, 46.
Hundreds in Detroit had joined a “March Against Police Brutality” with many chanting, “No justice, no peace.” Some carried signs that read, “End police brutality” and “I won’t stop yelling until everyone can breathe.”
Thousands of chanting protesters filled the streets of New York City’s Brooklyn borough near the Barclays Center indoor arena. Police armed with batons and pepper spray made scores of arrests in sometimes violent clashes.
In lower Manhattan, demonstrators at a “We can’t breathe” vigil and rally were pressing for legislation outlawing the police “chokehold” used by a city police officer in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was also black.
In Washington, police and Secret Service agents were out in force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators gathered across the street in Lafayette Square chanting,” I can’t breathe.”
The protests erupted and spread around the country this week after video footage taken by an onlooker’s cell phone was widely circulated on the internet. It shows Floyd gasping for air and repeatedly groaning, “Please, I can’t breathe,” while a crowd of bystanders shouted at police to let him up.
The video reignited rage that civil rights activists said has long simmered in Minneapolis and cities across the country over persistent racial bias in the US criminal justice system.
In Atlanta, Bernice King, the youngest daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., implored people to go home on Friday night after more than 1,000 protesters marched to the state capitol from the Centennial Olympic Park, blocking traffic and an interstate highway along the way.
At least one police car was among several vehicles burnt.
Protesters also took to the streets in other cities including Denver and Houston.
In Minneapolis, thousands of protesters defied an 8 p.m. curfew to gather in the streets around a police station burnt the previous night.
The charges brought by Hennepin County prosecutors against the police officer came after a third night demonstrations in which protesters set fire to a police station, and the National Guard was deployed to help restore order in Minnesota’s largest city.
Authorities had hoped Chauvin’s arrest would allay public anger. But defying an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Jacob Frey, demonstrators clashed anew with riot police outside the battered Third Precinct building.
Police, creating a two-block buffer area around the precinct house, opened fire with tear gas, plastic bullets and concussion grenades, scattering the crowd.
Floyd, a Houston native who had worked security for a nightclub, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money at a store to buy cigarettes on Monday evening.
Former US vice president Joe Biden said Friday that Floyd’s exposed racial injustice that "none of us can turn away" from, urging Americans to treat the volatile national moment as a turning point for race relations in the US.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he's spoken to the family of Floyd.
"I want to express our nation's deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of George Floyd," Trump said during a roundtable event at the White House, later adding, "I spoke to members of the family – terrific people."
Trump faced criticism throughout the day for a late-night tweet about looting that Twitter appended a warning to, saying it violating its rules against glorifying violence. "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" he said on Twitter.
Reuters and CNN contributed to this story.