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US government has given carte blanche authority to police to use lethal force: Analyst

Abayomi Azikiwe

The US government has given complete freedom to police departments to use lethal force on civilians, as racism and national oppression intensifies against blacks, an African American journalist in Detroit says.

Protesters in the US state of Minnesota set on fire a police station in the city of Minneapolis on Thursday in a third straight night of mass protests to express their fury over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to assist police as city, state and federal law enforcement officials sought to ease racial tensions sparked by Monday’s fatal arrest of 46-year-old Floyd.

More than 500 Guard members were activated and sent to Minneapolis and several surrounding cities. It was the first time the Minnesota National Guard has been activated for a civil disturbance in 34 years.

“Unfortunately, these demonstrations will continue because the federal government has given carte blanche authority to law enforcement agencies to exercise maximum and lethal force against civilians, particularly against African Americans,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“This has to stop and until it stops, they're going to be more demonstrations, more attention and more deaths,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday.

“There’s a definite need on the part of people in the United States to organize, to put an end to this type of racist violence by the police,” he added.

“It indicates that racism and national oppression in the United States is increasing, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic where people have been put up in their homes for weeks, yet the criminal justice authorities are still carrying out racist and illegal practices against many people.”

Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd's death, as anger over the latest police killing was fueled by uncertainty over the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the US.

Several buildings in Minneapolis were set on fire. The blazes included one at the Third Police Precinct station, the epicenter of the three nights of demonstrations, after crowds of protesters broke in and set fires inside and behind the building.

Fires burned on both sides of the police station as demonstrators pushed down temporary fencing and occupied property at the precinct. Officers fired tear gas from the ground and a rooftop.

In the neighboring city of St. Paul, clouds of smoke hung in the air as police armed with batons and wearing gas masks and body armor patrolled the streets.

Sympathy protests erupted in Los Angeles, California, as well as in Denver, Colorado, with hundreds of demonstrators blocking highway traffic in both cities.

Police-involved shootings and killings of unarmed black men in the hands of white police officers have led to mass protests across the US in recent years and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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