Police targeted with officer shot dead as Black Lives Matter protests sweep US

2 June 2020, 09:27

This is the fourth night of protest in Las Vegas
This is the fourth night of protest in Las Vegas. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

One man has been killed and a police officer is in a critical condition after being shot in the head at a George Floyd protest in Las Vegas as violent confrontations broke out across the country.

The officer, a US Marshall, was shot in front of the federal courthouses on Las Vegas boulevard while police were attempting to disperse a large crowd protesting there.

He is said to be in a critical condition.

Another man was shot dead during the same demonstrations, the city's sheriff, Joe Lombardo, has confirmed.

He was shot by police after reaching for a firearm during an altercation near a federal building.

He was pronounced dead in hospital.

"What has occurred is utterly unacceptable, I hope the community sees it that way too," Mr Lombardo said.

Police have blocked off the Las Vegas Strip from The Strat, the towering resort at the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard, to Caesar's Palace. 

Demonstrators started their protest in front of Trump Tower on the strip.

Four officers were also shot overnight in St. Louis, Missouri, during the protests.

Two were shot in the leg, one in the arm and one in the foot, said Police Chief John Hayden.

He told a press conference: “Folks came down just to steal, just to destroy property and just to hurt officers.”

He said the four officers were standing near a police line when they were hit by gunfire, and police are still trying to establish if more than one person fired the shots.

“I’m stunned, innocent officers being shot at,” Hayden said. “We need to pray for our city and pray for the officers.”

All are currently being treated in hospital.

A video circulating on social media also shows a police officer in New York being assaulted with a brick.

Video of the violent encounter shows the suspect approach the lieutenant from behind and strike him in the head with the brick.

The officer's condition is not yet known.

The incident happened at around 10 p.m. on Sunday, while NYPD officers were policing a protest near East 12th Street and Broadway.

Immediately following the attack, an officer pulled out his weapon.

Before the video surfaced, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had called for the officer who pulled the gun to be fired. The mayor has not yet commented on the video.

Protests and riots across the US have now raged into their seventh day following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after his neck was knelt on by a white officer for almost nine minutes.

An autopsy has declared his death a homicide, "caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain."

Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on his neck, has since been charged with third-degree murder.

Chauvin ignored Mr Floyd's cries of distress, during which he could be heard saying: "I can't breathe."

The other three officers at the scene were, like Chauvin, fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.

Donald Trump seemingly inflamed tensions further last night, by threatening to deploy the US military into states which do not quell the unrest within their borders.

George Floyd died last Monday after his neck was knelt on by a white officer.
George Floyd died last Monday after his neck was knelt on by a white officer. Picture: Facebook
Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder. Picture: PA

Mr Trump made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden to a backdrop of noisy demonstrations and what appeared to be explosions from outside the building.

Mr Trump called himself "the president of law and order" as he mapped out the historic measures he would introduce to deal with the unrest.

"First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now," he said.

"Today I have recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets."

He continued: "If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

"We cannot allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob."