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Colin Kaepernick to help provide legal assistance to Minneapolis protesters

The former NFL quarterback who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice says top lawyers are being recruited.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced Friday he will help provide legal assistance to protesters in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. Violent protests have battered Minneapolis and have spread to cities across the country.

Kaepernick, who gained attention when he kneeled during the national anthem before NFL games to protest racial injustice, said the assistance will be provided by his Know Your Rights Camp.

"In fighting for liberation there‘s always retaliation. We must protect our Freedom Fighters," Kaepernick tweeted.

The Know Your Rights Legal Defense Initiative says it has teamed up with "top defense lawyers" in the Minneapolis area to provide legal resources. 

Protesters torched a Minneapolis police station Thursday that the department was forced to abandon as three days of violent protests spread from Minneapolis to nearby St. Paul and angry demonstrations flared across the U.S over the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.

Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd's death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video. On the video, Floyd can be seen pleading as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.

RELATED: 'Justice for George Floyd' is largest-ever US petition on Change.org

Chauvin, who was later fired, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was accused in court papers of ignoring another officer's concerns after Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.

Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for a conviction on the murder count and four years on the manslaughter charge.

RELATED: Derek Chauvin charged with 3rd degree murder, manslaughter in death of George Floyd

The papers also said that an autopsy revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death. The exam concluded that the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death, according to the complaint. Floyd's family was seeking an independent autopsy.