Chaos broke out in several major U.S. cities on Sunday night as rioters hijacked what had been peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Among the turmoil: Fires lit near the White House, including at St. John’s Church just a short walk away; rioters clashing with police in New York City; and the Los Angeles County sheriff saying people still out on the streets were “acting like terrorists.”
The National Guard’s top general on Sunday said Guard units in nearly half of U.S. states have been mobilized to help major cities deal with the riots. Gen. Joseph Lengyel said some 16,000 additional Guard troops have been deployed to 24 states and the District of Columbia in response to civil disturbances.
Floyd died Monday after a Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; he and three other officers were fired from the force after video of Floyd’s death emerged.
The latest deployment brought the total number of deployed National Guard members to about 62,000 across the country. Other Guard members already had been deployed to assist with their governments’ COVID-19 relief efforts.
The riots erupted from demonstrations in cities from San Francisco to Boston protesting the death of Floyd.