LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Protests are erupting across the state of Florida in response to the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck. People are rioting and demanding justice, leaving cities and law enforcement scrambling.
One Florida Representative is warning protesters that if they come near Lake County, an AR-15 will be a very common sight.
"Attention potential “protesters” coming near Lake County, FL," Representative Anthony Sabatini tweeted. "This is an AR-15—this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business—FYI!"
Protests have started to hit Central Florida, as protesters marched up and down the streets of Downtown Orlando on Saturday, demanding justice for George Floyd. When protesters started to set off fireworks, police responded with pepper spray.
Protests moved onto the 408, as people climbed barriers and blocked the highway while denouncing police brutality. Police said that some protesters threw rocks at bottles at officers, forcing them to use a "chemical agent" to clear them from the highway.
At least six people were arrested. While all this was happening, several businesses near the Mall at Millenia were broken into and damaged by looters.
The rest of Florida is seeing turbulence as well. For example, anger spilled into the streets of Tampa Bay on Saturday night as stores were looted and burned.
Then in Jacksonville, the Sheriff said that a deputy was said to have been stabbed or slashed in the neck, while other deputies were injured from thrown rocks and bricks.
Miami has even implemented a curfew after police said that protesters hurled rocks and bottles at officers and set squad cars on fire outside Miami Police headquarters Saturday night. At one point, Interstate 95 was shut down in both directions as a group of protesters stood on the busy roadway. Videos on social media showed dozens of people breaking into stores at Bayside Marketplace, a popular outdoor shopping center in downtown Miami.
Meanwhile, in the state capital, a pickup truck drove through a crowd of protesters Saturday in Tallahassee, sending some running and screaming. Police did not release the name of the driver or say whether he would face any charges. There were no serious injuries.
The former Minneapolis officer seen kneeling on George Floyd's neck as he struggled to breathe, Derek Chauvin, is in custody this morning. He is charged with third-degree-murder and manslaughter. His wife has also filed for divorce, as her attorneys say that she was devastated by Floyd's death.
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