MINNEAPOLIS –– A pandemic is sweeping through Minneapolis. The death total toppled over 1,000 on Saturday morning. But after the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, the coronavirus has been pushed to the back burner. Something more important matters now.

It started as a peaceful rally. But the longer it took for Chauvin to be arrested, the more frustrated the crowd became. The plea for justice has erupted into something the Twin Cities haven’t ever seen. It’s turned violent. Businesses were looted. Banks were burned.

On Saturday, Minnesota governor Tim Walz announced that he is fully mobilizing the state's National Guard in response for the first time in Minnesota history. It's the first time the Minnesota National Guard has been fully mobilized since World War II.

Walz pleaded for peace. Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey demanded that the violence comes to an end.

This is what it looked like to be around Minneapolis from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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6:39 a.m.: Some black smoke was still slipping out of the Wells Fargo bank on Lake Street in Minneapolis. It had been ravaged by the flames overnight. Messages like, “Kill the cops,” and “Let it burn” were spraypainted onto the brick wall. What was once a window was now a charred black abyss.

7:00 a.m.: Just three police officers stand atop the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct. It’s peaceful now, but that could change later tonight after the protests turned violent in each of the last few nights.

10:29 a.m.: A tattered “Black Lives Matter” cardboard sign is on cardboard and taped to the front on a house on Columbus Avenue in South Minneapolis. It’s an omen to signify that they are united with the protesters.

11:11 a.m.: Hundreds of people have converged at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. A man approaches a woman and says, “We should have each other’s phone numbers!”

“Wait, who are you?” the woman questions.

“I’m your neighbor,” the man cheerfully responds.

“Oh sorry, the mask threw me off and I’m frazzled today.”

She wasn't alone in that sentiment.

11:35 a.m.: Powderhorn Park was packed with a large group of Minneapolis residents in an effort to plan for neighborhood peacekeeping.

It was organized by Minneapolis Council Member Alondra Cano.

“I have not come here alone,” the group sang together. “If you listen, you can hear them in my soul.”

Cano pleaded for the group to keep children and the elderly off of Lake Street throughout the day on Saturday and especially on Saturday night.

“Please take the vulnerable populations out of the Lake Street area,” Cano said. “I have a feeling things are going to spill into the neighborhood today, unlike they’ve done in the past.”

Cano also warned that the National Guard was likely going to be deployed in the streets.

“If that happens, the city council and mayor will have no purview, recourse or lines of communication.”

Cano hoped that the residents would prepare spiritually what that might mean.

The neighbors split up into groups of 10 to discuss ways to properly defend themselves if the riots spread into their neighborhood.

1:03 p.m.: A group of six people – four women and two men – walked down Lake Street in Minneapolis to head to the area that was desolated by fires the night before. They were carrying shovels and brooms and cleaning materials to help their Minneapolis neighbors try to put their city back together.

2:01 p.m.: “What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


“How are we going to get it?”

"By any means necessary.”

Dozens of people formed a crowd and chanted these phrases in front of the Floyd mural in South Minneapolis.

2:29 p.m.: The Cup Foods grocery store was where Floyd was pinned to the ground by Chauvin. That's where a big batch of protesters gathered.

A 21-year old Black woman led the cries and pleads for help.

“You all don’t understand. I’m only 21. But it’s hard to see my people die every single day. I came out here to fight for our rights. I’m tired of seeing black people get killed. My father is incarcerated for stupid garbage. And these guys can’t even get incarcerated at all. I’m tired of it. I’m sorry to the kids for cussing but I’m really just tired of it. I’m done.”

3:22 p.m.: A walk down Lake Street was like taking a step into a war-ravaged country. The vibrant El Nuevo Rodeo restaurant was merely reduced to a pile of rubble with a charred wall surrounding it.

“This is what rage looks like,” an onlooker said.

A group of construction workers were in the process of putting up plywood in case there were any more riots on Saturday night.

“If we get a stiff breeze, that wall is going to fall over,” the lead contractor said.

Near the base of the structure, a sign read, “Danger, building will fall.”

There wasn’t one window that was spotless. Each of them was either totally destroyed or had a gaping hole in it.

4:30 p.m.: But in the middle of the wreckage, there was a beacon of light. The people were rebuilding their city.

Dozens of people were spraying cleaner to try and clean the graffiti off the brick walls. They were scrubbing and scrubbing. Some of them didn’t succeed. There was still a faint, “Kill cops” that one could easily read.

Hundreds of bags of goop and garbage were being scooped up. The rubble and the shards that had been moved into the street were cleared out and stacked in a monster pile on the street.

Children were handing out free burritos. A husband and wife from Minneapolis had boxes of water and snacks like Clif Bars and trail mix that they’d give out for free to anyone and everyone.

While division continued to spread throughout the world, Minnesotans of every color came together to rebuild the Twin Cities.