Big-box chain Target and other retailers are closing their Minneapolis stores after days of riots in which the city's major retailers were looted and a police station was set on fire to protest the death of a black man being detained by a white police officer.
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Target's site initially listed more than two dozen closures Friday morning out of an abundance of safety for guests and employees but by Friday afternoon, its corporate website whittled the number down to nine.
Demonstrations erupted Tuesday near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, which covers the portion of south Minneapolis where George Floyd was arrested. A confrontation between him and police, caught on video that subsequently went viral, shows Floyd pleading for air as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him.
As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.
The protests quickly spread from the station to nearby stores, hitting Family Dollar, CVS and GameStop along with Target, according to published reports and social media posts.
Floyd's is the latest in a string of deaths of black men in police custody during the past five years, many of which prompted demonstrations. While the White House has called the case a tragedy, President Trump also described the protestors as "thugs" on Twitter and promised military assistance to law enforcement.
"We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community," Minneapolis-based Target said. "At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores until further notice. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal."
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Target's closings come just after videos surfaced showing a stampede of rioters breaking into one of its stores, taking what they could and rushing out.
At CVS, 16 pharmacies have been damaged in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area so far, including inside Target stores, spokesperson Amy Thibault confirmed to FOX Business on Friday, adding that none of their employees were injured.
The company closed three additional pharmacies in the area to ensure its employees remain safe.
"Each pharmacy’s phone system has been rerouted to a nearby store so our patients will continue to have access to pharmacy care," she said.
At nearby stores including GameStop and Thurston Jewelers, pictures and videos showed merchandise strewn on the ground among shards of shattered glass.
At Thurston, demonstrators grabbed tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise after shooting their way into the premises, Fox9 reported.
Urban Outfitters, Sephora and Timberland locations were also ransacked, according to Fox9.
The risk has prompted Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the country with tens of millions of visitors each year, to delay a post-coronavirus reopening that had been set for June 1.
"As soon as we confirm a new reopening date, we will share it with you," the operators said in a statement on the shopping center's website.
The rioting in some areas of the city has become sufficiently intense that people have begun arming themselves and guarding stores.
While only a handful of arrests were made during the first two nights of violence, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey defended the city’s lack of engagement with looters. “We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace," he said.
National Guard members have been stationed at locations including banks, grocery stores and pharmacies, to help stem looting, he said.
Family Dollar didn't immediately respond to FOX Business' requests for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.