Channel 7 journalist Ashlee Mullany was almost taken out by a stun grenade as police closed in on a Minneapolis protest against the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was filmed gasping for breath as a white officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes before he died in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday.
The father-of-two’s death led to a series of violent rallies in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, where outraged protesters demanded authorities charge the four stood-down police officer’s involved in Floyd’s arrest.
Mullany, who is the US correspondent for Channel 7, crossed to the Sunrise newsroom live from Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon to report on the mayhem as protests raged on in the city for a third day.
Officer Derek Chauvin (pictured) was identified as the officer pinning down George Floyd in video footage that was widely shared on Tuesday
Channel 7 news journalist Ashlee Mullany was almost taken out by a stun grenade as police closed in on a Minneapolis protest against the death of George Floyd
Footage showed the journalist duck for cover as a stun grenade was fired in her direction by police officers who descended on the protest.
Mullany said tensions only grew when police arrived to control the crowds of outraged citizens.
‘What happened was about six police cars out of nowhere arrived and they came out in riot gear,’ she told the Sunrise newsroom.
‘It seems like they were prepared for some sort of confrontation.
‘But it really was like throwing a match in the tinder at that point. It was incredible to see how that anger exploded in a matter of seconds.
‘The police were not welcome on the streets here.’
Pictured: A man kicks out a store front window during a protest on Thursday in St. Paul, Minnesota
Mullany is seen during the violent protests in Minneapolis on Thursday
Mullany, who is the US correspondent for Channel 7, crossed to the Sunrise newsroom live from Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon to report on the mayhem
Mullany referred to footage of an injured demonstrator lying on the floor of a car park.
‘We did see someone who appeared to be injured and covered on the floor and there were people coming to her aid,’ she said.
‘We’ve seen police try to disperse crowds with tear gas, with those stunt grenades, so we have seen people injured.
‘Just walking from the car to here I saw pools of blood on the payment so there have definitely been injuries in these riots.’
The US correspondent for Channel 9, Tim Arvier, was also caught in the cross hairs during Thursday’s protest.
Mullany is pictured on the carpet at the Golden Globes
The US correspondent for Channel 9, Tim Arvier, was also caught in the cross hairs during Thursday’s protest
Mullany referred to footage of an injured demonstrator lying on the floor of a car park (pictured)
Pictured: Protesters throw objects at police on Thursday in St. Paul, Minnesota
Arvier told Today host Karl Stefanovic he saw a ‘whiskey bottle got thrown at the police’ as well as a ‘massive rock’.
‘He had no compunction throwing (the rock),’ Arvier said.
Arvier also saw a tear gas canister fired at a protester at ‘point blank range’.
‘It’s a tense situation,’ he said.
‘We are having stun grenades being thrown into the crowd now things are getting ugly.’
Arvier continued to speak to the newsroom as he manoeuvred through the crowds on Thursday.
Today hosts Stefanovic and Allison Langdon asked Arvier if the protesters heard the news that the police officers may not be charged with Floyd’s death.
Arvier replied: ‘No, we haven’t heard that. We certainly haven’t seen any – haven’t heard anyone talking about that but we are just on our way down to the police station.’
The Today hosts urged Arvier avoid breaking the news to the demonstrators so he could stay safe.
‘Don’t break it to them. Don’t be the one that breaks it to them.’
Pictured: A car is seen on fire at the parking lot of a Target store during the protests
An aerial photo made with a drone shows firefighters battling fires set near the Minneapolis police 3rd Precinct, during a third day of protests over the death of George Floyd
Chaos continues: A shirtless man was seen running near a burning building in downtown Minneapolis after a night of unrest and protests over George Floyd’s death
At a press conference on Thursday, prosecutors warned there is ‘evidence that does not support criminal charges’ against the four cops.
Mike Freeman, county attorney for Hennepin County, condemned the actions of white cop Derek Chauvin as ‘horrific and terrible’, but said prosecutors needed to determine if he used ‘excessive’ force when he knelt on Floyd’s neck until he passed out and later died.
‘That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,’ he said.
‘But my job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute – but there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.’
Pictured: George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday
A fatal shooting and lawsuit for excessive force: What we know about the four officers fired for George Floyd’s arrest
In 2006 Derek Chauvin (pictured), 44, was one of six officers connected to the death of Wayne Reyes
The white police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck has already been investigated over three police shootings and a fatal car chase.
In 2006 Derek Chauvin, 44, was one of six officers connected to the death of Wayne Reyes.
Reyes, 42 was killed by officers after allegedly pulling a shotgun on the six cops, which included Chauvin.
Also that year he was named in a lawsuit filed by an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility. The case was dismissed in 2007.
Two years later Chauvin was investigated for his role in the 2008 shooting of Ira Latrell Toles during a domestic assault call.
Toles was wounded after police said he went for an officer’s gun and Chauvin shot him.
That same year Chauvin was handed a medal of valor for ‘his response in an incident involving a man armed with a gun.’
But in 2011 23-year-old Leroy Martinez was shot and injured during a chase given by officers including Chauvin.
Tou Thao (pictured), was part of a $25,000 out of court settlement after being sued for using excessive force in 2017
Tou Thao, was part of a $25,000 out of court settlement after being sued for using excessive force in 2017.
A lawsuit obtained by the DailyMail.com shows Thao was sued for using excessive force in arrest where he was accused of punching and kicking a handcuffed suspect ‘until his teeth broke’.
The remaining two officers have been identified as Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng.
Both were reportedly rookie cops who were still in their probationary periods, according to the StarTribune.
Minneapolis braced for a third night of violence on Thursday after protests in the city turned deadly overnight.
State troopers have already been called in and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey asked for the National Guard’s help after one suspected looter was fatally shot and stores were left ransacked and torched.
Shocking images Thursday morning showed the widespread destruction left overnight after stores including Wendy’s, Target, Walmart and Autozone were looted and some even set on fire.
Mayor Frey pleaded for calm ahead of more expected protests this evening telling residents ‘we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy.’
Videos also showed what was reported to be an apartment building entirely engulfed by flames as rioters stood and watched and the fire department was nowhere to be seen.
Outside a GM Tobacco store, a group of four men with huge firearms were seen and said they had come to protect local businesses from looters.
DailyMail.com also exclusively reported that protesters on Wednesday even gathered outside the home of fired officer Derek Chauvin and scrawled the word ‘Murderer’ on his driveway.
A sign was propped up at the end of his driveway reading ‘People don’t kill people, cops do’ as calls mounted for the fired cop to face murder charges over Floyd’s death.
Other demonstrators carried signs and wore T-shirts reading ‘I can’t breathe’ – some of the last words Floyd said as he begged the police officer for his life.
Some held signs reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ and pictures of Floyd as they marched on the property.
They were then met by a wall of police officers who had set up security around Chauvin’s home.
Floyd’s heartbroken brother Philonise Floyd also urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully, but said he understood the anger surrounding George’s death.
‘I can’t stop people right now because they have pain. They have the same pain that I feel. I want everything to be peaceful but I can’t make everybody be peaceful. It’s hard,’ he told CNN. ‘They treated him worse than they treat animals.’
‘I watched the video. It was hard but I had to watch. As I watched, those four officers – they executed my brother,’ he added.
Floyd’s case has been compared to the 2014 killing of Eric Garner and has reignited tensions between law enforcement and the black community over police officers’ use of force on black suspects, particularly in non-violent offenses.