CNN headquarters in Atlanta vandalized by protesters after George Floyd death

A protest erupted outside CNN's headquarters in Atlanta on Friday amid nationwide demonstrations following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, with many of the protesters seen vandalizing the entrance of the building in videos posted to social media.

A crowd gathered in front of the CNN Center and grew over the course of several hours, initially breaking windows and spray-painting the CNN sign, and later throwing objects -- including what appeared to be a firecracker that exploded -- and reportedly shooting BB guns into the lobby.

The iconic CNN sign, a popular tourist destination in the downtown area, was covered with graffiti and others were seen jumping on top of the structure.

A CNN journalist captured footage of a window being shattered by the crowd, which can be heard sparking cheers.

Law enforcement eventually cleared the area, pushing the crowd further down the street.

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Reporting from CNN correspondent Nick Valencia showed multiple police cars that were set ablaze and Georgia State Police entering the scene.

"This is terrible to witness, it's terrible to witness," Valencia told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Valencia later reported live from the lobby of the CNN Center, where police officers were seen lined up inside the headquarters guarding the entrance. Demonstrators outside were throwing objects, including a smoke grenade that went off in the lobby, which was immediately kicked back out by one of the officers.

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The crowd later approached the entrance to the lobby, and a small explosion can be seen going off after someone threw what appeared to be a firecracker into the building.

Earlier in the day, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his team were taken into custody around 5:10 a.m. local time as they were reporting live outside a liquor store that had been set ablaze in the demonstrations. An hour and a half later, the network reported their release.

“A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves -- a clear violation of their First Amendment rights,” the network said in a statement. “The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”

Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo during a protest, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. The protest started peacefully earlier in the day before demonstrators clashed with police. (Associated Press)

Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo during a protest, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. The protest started peacefully earlier in the day before demonstrators clashed with police. (Associated Press)

Police reportedly claimed Jimenez and the crew were taken into custody because they were told to move and didn’t listen. CNN said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz “deeply apologizes” for the incident and had been working to have the three employees freed.

The protests in the Twin Cities were sparked by the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for several minutes as he was being arrested on suspicion of forgery.

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Video footage that went viral after the arrest showed Floyd telling the police officer "I can't breathe" as passersby begged the officers to get off him. Moments later, Floyd became nonresponsive and was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.

Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three officers involved with the arrest have been fired amid calls for their arrest.

Fox News Greg Norman and Brian Flood contributed to this report.