Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester man charged with participating in the Minneapolis riots last May today entered into a plea agreement and admitted to a misdemeanor offense.
24-year-old Junior Gary Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of violating emergency powers and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation. He was originally charged with second-degree felony riot while armed with a dangerous weapon.
The criminal complaint alleged Smith was a passenger in a dark Mercedes sedan with no visible license plate that was seen traveling at a high rate of speed in an area of Lake Street in Minneapolis where there had been a number of incidents involving looting and arson fires.
After officers, with their guns drawn, ordered the driver to stop, Smith and three other men were ordered out of the vehicle. The criminal charges stated that Smith had a handgun tucked into his waistband and a backpack that contained a hammer and spray paint.
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Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, Chauvin Trial
It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.
George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression.
After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.
A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe."
The now historic response began the following day.