CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police officers have been ordered to “no longer use force to disperse large gatherings,” as tensions mount over the months-long stay-at-home order, and protests continue nationwide over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck
“Until further notice, large gatherings will only be monitored until the crowd disperse on it’s own. Please ensure that all supervisors under your command are made aware of this instruction,” top brass wrote in a memo to commanders and officers Thursday night.
In addition to mounting protests over Floyd’s death, the order comes amid a statewide stay-at-home order that prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
Officers confronted a large gathering Tuesday night in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, as hundreds of people gathered in the streets near 75th and Drexel.
Two days later, officers got into a brief scuffle with protesters in the Englewood neighborhood, as dozens of people marched in protest of Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, died Sunday night outside of a store in Minneapolis as a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than seven minutes, and Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three others involved in the incident have been fired.
The store’s owner, Mahmod Abumayaleh, told CBS Minnesota one of his employees called 911 on Floyd because he bought a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The owner said he confronted Floyd, who was sitting in his car outside. He said Floyd apologized and gave back the cigarettes. Abumayaleh said Floyd appeared to be intoxicated and seemed somewhat out of control. He said he wants justice for Floyd, and has offered to pay his funeral expenses.
Protesters have taken to the streets for four days and counting in Minneapolis since Floyd’s death. After another night of riots in the Twin Cities caused destruction in both Minneapolis and St. Paul on Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says “the world is watching” and order needs to be restored.
Chaurvin was arrested Friday in connection with Floyd’s death. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter, with the charges scheduled to be released shortly.