Protests against police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four now-ex Minneapolis police officers continued to rage across the country for the sixth night. Over the weekend, the protests turned violent, forcing the Secret Service to move President Donald Trump and the First Family to the bunker underneath the White House during the riots on Friday night.
On Sunday (May 31) night, rioters returned the area near the White House and set the historic St. John's Episcopal Church on fire. The fire was started and basement and did not spread before it was extinguished. The sanctuary did not appear to be damaged by the flames.
Every president since James Madison has attended services at the church.
Officials said more than 50 Secret Service agents were injured after rioters in Lafayette Park, which is just across the street from the presidential residence, threw bottles and Molotov cocktails at them. Authorities were also worried about the potential for car bombs and have been combing the streets after reports that outside groups were planting vehicles with incendiary material throughout the city.
According to NBC News, more than 4,400 people were arrested around the country over the weekend during the riots. The protests, which were held in dozens of cities across the country, started out peacefully but turned violent after the sun went down.
The National Guard was mobilized in more than a dozen states as local officials set curfews to try to keep the protests from turning violent.
In New York City, thousands of people marched to demand justice for Floyd and the other victims of police violence. Rioters smashed windows, looted stores, started fires, and vandalized buildings.
In Philadelphia, at least five police officers were injured during clashes with the protesters, and they had to fire tear gas to get the crowds to disperse.
Officials in Santa Monica, California, said there at least nine fires as the rioters torched buildings and looted stores.
Protesters in Minneapolis were lucky to be unharmed after a truck driver plowed through a crowd marching along Interstate 35. The driver was injured after the protesters pulled him from his truck and began to attack him. He was taken into custody and is facing undisclosed charges for his actions.
The week-long protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hand of now-former Minneapolis police officers. Floyd was being detained for allegedly using a counterfeit bill when Derek Chauvin put his knee of the man's neck. Chauvin left his knee there for nearly eight minutes, even as Floyd begged for help, telling the officers at the scene he couldn't breathe. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Chauvin was fired and is facing murder charges. The other three officers involved were fired, but have not been charged.
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