Following protests over the fatal arrest of George Floyd, Minnesota officials are urging caution about gathering in large numbers during a pandemic. “People are moved to want to speak and to want to gather in solidarity and in protest, and we certainly honor and respect that right,” State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.
“As we know, large gatherings do pose a risk in any epidemic, but certainly where we stand today with the state of COVID-19 spread in our community. Knowing that we have community spread, we just want to again encourage folks who gather to be mindful of the risk," she added.
On Monday, police attempted to arrest Floyd in Minneapolis over an alleged forgery. Video taken at that scene shows a white officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck as he struggled to breathe and became unresponsive. Floyd was transported to the hospital where he died hours later.
The harrowing video prompted public outcry and protests in several cities across the country. Chauvin, along with three other responding officers were fired Wednesday. On Friday afternoon, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.