George Floyd riots

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The George Floyd riots[1] were a series of pro-black, far-left, and anti-white protest and civil disturbance actions that started in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota, before spreading across the USA. The protests began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020, after black man George Floyd died shortly after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest the prior night. Chauvin served with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Protests at the MPD's Third Precinct[2] saw some demonstrators skirmishing with law enforcement officers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.[3][4] On May 27, one man was fatally shot by a pawn shop owner who thought the man was looting, and the Third Precinct's windows were smashed. Multiple stores were looted, and other buildings were attacked and set ablaze.[5]

For several days following Floyd's death, hundreds of protesters gathered at the driveway of Chauvin's house, which prompted police responses.[6] On May 28, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency, and 500 Minnesota National Guard troops were called in by Governor of Minnesota Tim Walz.[7] By the morning more businesses across the Twin Cities were damaged and looted. MPD in the Third Precinct building attempted to hold off the protesters with tear gas, but at around 11:00 p.m., protesters overran the building and set it ablaze after it was evacuated.[8] The protests continued into May 30. Tim Walz, Jacob Frey, and Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter imposed curfews.[9] President Donald Trump assured Walz of military support if needed.[10] The protesters called for a fundamental reduction of the power and role of white people in the USA.[11][12]

By May 31, there were simultaneous protests in over 100 other cities in the United States and internationally supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking out against police treatment of non-Asian minorities, particularly blacks. Major cities with protests included Atlanta; Charlotte; Chicago; Columbus; Dallas; Denver; Fort Lauderdale; Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Richmond, Virginia; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Dozens of people are thought to have died in the violence, both protesters and bystanders. Hundreds of additional deaths were expected due to COVID-19 exposure.

Background

History of racial conflict

Flag burning during protests at the CNN Center in June 2020.

Earlier and related racial violence included the shooting of Breonna Taylor of Kentucky in March[13] and the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February, though nobody was charged in Arbery's case until video of his death was released in May.[14]

COVID-19 pandemic

Measures taken against the growing COVID-19 pandemic, including closure of non-essential businesses[15] and implementation of a stay-at-home order,[16] had significant economic and social impact on many Americans as millions lost their jobs and were made more economically vulnerable.[17] Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota, opined that people "have been cooped up for two months, and so now they're in a different space and a different place. They're restless. Some of them have been unemployed, some of them don't have rent money, and they're angry, they're frustrated."[18]

Death of George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, at 8:08 p.m. CDT,[19] MPD officers responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding a "forgery in progress" on Chicago Avenue South in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. According to police, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, was in a nearby car and "appeared to be under the influence." A spokesman for the police department said the officers ordered him to exit the vehicle, at which point he "physically resisted." A video taken by a bystander shows Floyd being removed from his vehicle without any resistance.[20]

According to the MPD, officers "were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance." However, a Facebook Live livestream recorded by a bystander showed that Derek Chauvin, a 48-year-old white police officer, had pinned Floyd on the ground and was kneeling on his neck.[21][22] Floyd repeatedly tells Chauvin "Please" and "I can't breathe," while a bystander is heard telling the police officer, "You got him down. Let him breathe."[23] After some time, a bystander points out that Floyd was bleeding from his nose while another bystander tells the police that Floyd is "not even resisting arrest right now," to which the police tell the bystanders that Floyd was "talking, he's fine." A bystander replies saying Floyd "ain't fine." A bystander then protests that the police were preventing Floyd from breathing, urging them to "get him off the ground ... You could have put him in the car by now. He's not resisting arrest or nothing."[22]

Floyd then goes silent and motionless. An ambulance arrives and Chauvin does not remove his knee until emergency medical services put Floyd on a stretcher. Not only did Chauvin kneel on Floyd's neck for about seven minutes (four minutes of which were after Floyd stopped moving) but a later video showed that an additional two officers had also knelt on Floyd while another officer watched.[24][25] Medics were unable to detect a pulse, and Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital.[26]

An autopsy of Floyd was conducted on May 26, and the next day, the preliminary report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office was published, stating "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." Floyd's underlying health conditions included coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The report said that "[t]he combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death."[27]

Riots in Minneapolis–Saint Paul and elsewhere

Day 1: May 26

Protests began around midday on May 26, the day after Floyd's death.[28] Hundreds of people marched to the MPD 3rd Precinct police station to demonstrate their frustration with the Minneapolis police.[29][30] The 3rd Precinct was vandalized with spray paint,[31] and the protest turned violent as rocks were thrown at police squad cars.[32] That evening around 8:OO PM Central Time, in what appeared to be a standoff, police in riot gear fired beanbag rounds and chemical agents at protesters who threw water bottles at them.[33]

Day 2: May 27

The protests continued into May 27, including at Chicago Avenue South. Around 6:00 p.m., police fired rubber bullets and chemical irritants near Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street while protesters were breaking windows at the police precinct.[34] In the early evening, a white man wearing black protective gear and a face mask respirator, and holding an umbrella, walked casually up to the Autozone next to the police department and smashed the windows of the building with a hammer as passersby told him to stop.[35] There was speculation that the man was an agent provocateur trying to introduce vandalism into a peaceful protest.[36] Social media users claimed the man holding an umbrella was an undercover Saint Paul Police officer; the Saint Paul Police Department issued a statement via Twitter denying the claims.[37][38]

Later in the evening, videos circulated on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms showcasing the Autozone on East Lake Street burning. A nearby Target store was extensively looted by a crowd of at least 100 people.[39] That night, one man was fatally shot by a pawnshop owner protecting his business. The owner, a 59-year-old man, was arrested in connection to the death.[40]

Day 3: May 28

A state of emergency was declared in Minneapolis on May 28 by Mayor Jacob Frey, and 500 Minnesota National Guard troops were deployed to the Twin Cities area.[41]

By the morning, more than 30 businesses in Minneapolis had been damaged by rioters.[42] A Dollar Tree store and another Target store were looted, and a Wendy's restaurant was set ablaze.[2] The Saint Paul Police Department reported that 170 businesses were damaged or looted on Thursday, and dozens of fires were started.[43] On the evening of May 28, protesters near the 3rd District Police Station set ablaze nearby buildings on two sides. Fencing surrounding the facility was torn down, so police on the scene used tear gas against protesters while the tensions and blaze continued. The Third Precinct building was overrun by protesters later in the night, and the building itself set on fire.[44][45]

A viral video emerged of a woman in a wheelchair outside of the Lake Street Target trying to block looters with some sort of knife. A second video showed the woman being disarmed and sprayed with a fire extinguisher. Edited versions of the original video were spread. "She's 30," "SHE GOT A KNIFE," and "SHE CAN WALK" were all trending topics.[46] She also said:

They attacked me from front and back... they punched me in my mouth, my head, I got punched in the head several times. I got grabbed from behind, people grabbed my wheelchair and they stole my keys. They stole everything they could off of me. I got maced in the face, I got covered in fire extinguisher stuff. I already seen the EMTs and they told me to go home.[46]

Day 4: May 29

There were no police, fire, or EMS presence in the area where the riots occurred from around 10:00 p.m. CDT on May 28, and continued to have no presence until the early hours of May 29.[47] At 1:30 am CDT on May 29, Frey held a press conference regarding the riots, and condemned the actions of the looters as "unacceptable." Frey said individuals engaged in rioting will be "held accountable" for damage caused to the community, and that Minneapolis is "strong as hell."[48][49]

Later that morning at 5:11 am CDT, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who is of African-American and Colombian descent,[50] and camera crew were arrested by Minnesota State Patrol officers as Jimenez reported live on television.[51][52] Jimenez identified himself and the crew as journalists.[53] Authorities said the team did not follow orders and detained them.[51] CNN released a statement saying that the arrest violated the First Amendment rights of the reporters, and calling for their immediate release.[54] The crew was released about an hour later,[55] after an intervention from the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz.[56][57]

On May 29, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that he would send the military to Minneapolis in order to bring the riots under control if the Governor was unable to; this came after the Governor Walz signed an executive order to send the Minnesota National Guard to Minneapolis, officially to protect property and to allow the local firefighters to do their job.[58] This move follows Trump's tweet earlier that day, in which he criticized Minneapolis' "very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey," and his lack of control of the riots.[59]

Late that afternoon, Walz imposed a curfew for the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul that would run from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30.[60][61] Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also issued a similar curfew.[62] Kirk Varner, news director at local ABC affiliate KSTP-TV, released a statement after allegations surfaced that assignment reporter Rich Reeve was inciting violence by playing gunshot noises on his phone to incite a reaction. In an attempt to stop conspiracy theories circulating on social media, the station released the video in full, showing a man who was firing a gun into the air while protesters were passing by, which Reeve had subsequently replayed to nearby protesters inquiring about the incident.[63]

Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on May 29.[64][65] His wife said that night that she would be filing for divorce.[66] Despite the announcement of the charges and the new curfew, riots broke out again on Friday night and well into early Saturday morning,[67] with Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Floyd's family, stating that "We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested."[68] Law enforcement presence was reportedly "undetectable," as violence in Minneapolis quickly expanded until just before midnight, when police officers, state troopers, and members of the National Guard began confronting rioters with tear gas and mass force.[67] Associated Press reported that the Pentagon placed members of the Military Police Corps from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum on stand-by, preparing to deploy to the Twin Cities.[69] Officials had said the 350 police officers at the site of the rioting were vastly outnumbered by the crowds.[70] However, Governor Tim Waltz declined this request and said that they would be relying on the National Guard instead. [71]

Day 5: May 30

Governor Walz held a press conference at 1:30 am CDT on May 30, in which he speculated that as much as 80% of people causing destruction and lighting fires could be from outside the state; an analysis by Minnesota Public Radio found that under 20% were.[72] Walz said the rioters were a "tightly controlled" group in "an organized attempt to destabilize civil society"; the Star Tribune said, "It was not clear if the outside groups suspected to be playing a part in the mayhem are made up of white supremacist agitators, left wing anarchists, or both."[73][74] "This is not grieving, and this is not making a statement ... this is life-threatening, dangerous to the most well-qualified forces to deal with this," Walz said. "This is not about George’s death. This is about chaos being caused." Minneapolis Mayor Frey was also present at the press conference, and he urged rioters to go to their homes. "If you care about your community, you’ve got to put this to an end. It needs to stop," Frey said. "You're not getting back at the police officer that tragically killed George Floyd by looting."[70] Trump tweeted that 'left-wing anarchists' and Antifa were responsible for the destruction, however he offered no evidence for this claim.[75] Crowds of people gathered in a makeshift memorial at the site of Floyd's arrest and subsequent death.[76]

As of May 30, 2,500 officers were deployed and 50 people have been arrested in relation to the protests. Major General Jon Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard said that by May 31, over 1,700 National Guard soldiers could be deployed. This would be the largest national deployment in the state's history.[77] Jensen confirmed that 2,500 Guards would be deployed by noon.[78]

Several hundred people gathered for a protest in Duluth.[79] Protesters temporarily blocked portions of I-35.[80][81] The I-35 as well as the I- 394, I-94 and Hwy 55 were all closed.[82] A curfew from 10 pm through 6 pm Sunday morning was imposed by Duluth city leaders.[83]

The city of Moorhead's African-American Mayor Johnathan Judd shook hands at a Black Lives Matter protest with a crowd of thousands just over the state line in nearby Fargo.[84]

Hundreds gathered for a peaceful protest at Paul Bunyan Park in Bemidji.[85]

Day 6: May 31

The number of Minnesota National Guard — 4,100 — was reported to increase to 10,800.[86] Pandemic precautions were often ignored or forgotten in the riot areas. The Daily Mail headlined the disturbances as "Anarchy in the USA".[87] Like other mainstream media organs, the Mail blocked pro-white comments online.

June 2020

The riots turned increasingly violent, with many white supporters themselves being attacked on racial grounds. Other left-wing activists were deplatformed or "cancelled" for being insufficiently politically correct or radical. In Washington D.C., president Trump ordered federal land near the White House cleared of rioters with tear gas and other police measures. Then heavier fences were installed around the complex.

By June 3, at least 200 cities had imposed curfews, and at least 27 states and Washington, D.C. activated over 74,000 National Guard personnel.[88][89]

By June 6, riots continued worldwide, with monuments associated with white history being destroyed, and targeted protests aimed at United States embassies.[90]

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

On June 10, President Trump challenged Seattle's mayor to "take back your city" after police vacated a precinct and protesters laid claim to the neighborhood around it. Protesters proclaimed the area the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone", where the police are forbidden and food is "free". Trump threatened a federal response.[91][92]

Ongoing race riots

Further riots and sometimes peaceful protests were organized throughout the summer in the USA, and to a lesser extent the Western world. These caused massive property damage, and hundreds of direct and indirect fatalities due to strained police resources. From August 23, 2020, the injuring of another black suspect led to a new wave of anti-white riots spreading from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Additional violent protests were organized after the fatal shooting of black woman Breonna Taylor during a botched arrest attempt. These riots erupted when most of the police officers involved were cleared of wrongdoing on September 23, 2020.[93]

Pro-Black protests elsewhere

There were simultaneous protests and riots in over 100 cities in the United States and internationally, with demonstrators supporting black supremacy and the Black Lives Matter movement, and speaking out against the higher economic power and status of whites. Cities with major protests included Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Phoenix, Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.[94][95][96] Many protests turned violent as the violence in the Twin Cities riots increased.

  • Washington, D.C.: The White House was on lockdown Friday night in response to protests reaching the gates.[97] The protests begun at 7:00 p.m..[98] By 8:30 p.m. the White House lockdown was lifted as protesters began to leave.[98] At 10:00 p.m. the protesters returned however by 3:30 am Saturday the protesters were more subdued.[98] The protesters came into conflict with the secret service.[98] At times the protesters got close enough to inflict minor injuries on certain officers.[98] At one point the protesters were pepper sprayed.[98] President Donald Trump responded to the protesters with a tweet saying that they would have been attacked by "vicious dogs."[99] On May 30, The Secret Services reported that six people were arrested in Lafayette Park the previous night. This contradicts an earlier tweet from President Trump in which he criticized Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser for lack of involvement.[100] Protesters gathered around the White House again on May 30.[101] Police vehicles soon became damaged with one protester graffitiing "words disparaging the President."[102]

Numerous acts of mass violence were reported in the protests.

Two New York City Police Department vehicles were recorded ramming into protesters.[114] In another incident, an NYPD officer was filmed pushing a woman to the ground, giving her a concussion.[115]

Linda Tirado, a freelance photo journalist, was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet or a pellet by the police in Minneapolis, and was likely to lose one eye.[116]

A Fox News crew was attacked by a group of protesters while reporting on the scene.[117]

The CNN Center in Atlanta was vandalized.[118]

There have been accusations of various pro-white counter-protests. Vice reported that the far-right "boogaloo boys," whose ideological aim is to incite a second civil war, have been spotted at the protests.[119] An attendee of the Friday night Minneapolis protests — Jonathan Turner Bargen — claimed to see a white man in a red pickup truck, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun with a far-right militia group Three Percenters symbol on the truck. Another attendee — Bridget Schumann — reported a truck driven aggressively, intimidating other drivers. The truck reportedly had a white sticker featuring the OK sign symbol.[120] The symbol has been associated with white rights. According to MPR News, social media users have claimed that far-right activism and "fringe" libertarian groups were seizing on the instability to provoke violence and destruction."[120]

Donald Trump claimed "the radical left" and Antifa were behind the protests.[75] During a press conference, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert claimed Antifa were behind the violence during the protests. He added “There’s no doubt that that’s who’s doing it and a lot of things we’re seeing are white males, dressed in the anarchist, ANTIFA, they’re ones who are fueling a lot of this. It’s just a damn shame that they took advantage of the situation, for something, something happened in another state where somebody died who shouldn’t have died, and they hijacked that message for their own.”[121] U.S. Attorney General William Barr blamed "anarchic and far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics" for the violence at the protests. "The voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements," Barr said.[122]

The so-called "Umbrella Man," who was recorded calmly breaking windows during the beginning of the protests, was accused of being an agent provocateur, possibly working for groups associated with George Soros.[36] Minnesota Governor Tim Walz speculated that there was "an organized attempt to destabilize civil society," with possibly as many as 80% of the individuals coming from outside the state.[123] The mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter, said that everyone arrested in St. Paul on May 29 was from out of state.[124][125]

Reactions

Domestic

Political

On May 29, Trump responded to the riots by threatening that either "the very weak Radical Left Mayor Jacob Frey get his act together and bring the City under control" or he will send in the National Guard, adding that "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."[126][127][128][129] The tweet was interpreted as quoting former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in December 1967, as Miami saw escalating tensions and racial protests aimed at the 1968 Republican National Convention.[10][130] Trump's use of the quote was seen by Twitter as an incitement of violence; Twitter placed the tweet behind a public interest notice for breaching its terms of service in regards to incitement of violence.[131] The next day, Trump commented on his original tweet, saying, "Looting leads to shooting, and that's why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don't want this to happen, and that's what the expression put out last night means...."[132]

Commercial

On the morning of May 29, Target temporarily closed 24 of its locations in the Twin Cities area, and reopened all but six the same day.[133][134] Target later announced that they would be closing 73 of their Minnesota stores until further notice and made a commitment to rebuilding the store on Lake Street.[135] On May 31, Target closed 49 stores in California and 12 stores in New York.[136]

Concerns over health

The Minnesota Department of Health raised concerns that the protests may exacerbate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[137] Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney requested that citizens protest according to social distancing guidelines.[138] Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that the U.S. “must acknowledge & address the impact of racism on health."[139]

International support for black power activism in the USA

States

  •  CanadaFar-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for Canada to "stand together in solidarity" against racial discrimination. He said Canadians are watching the police violence in the United States in "shock and horror."[140]
  •  People's Republic of China – The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States issued an alert to Chinese citizens in the USA. This alert appeared to be less sympathetic to black power, saying "to closely monitor the local security situation, stay alert to police notices over demonstrations, protests and possible riots and avoid traveling to dangerous areas" and that "Chinese citizens operating stores and shops should remain vigilant and step up security measures."[141]
  •  Iran – Foreign Minister condemned what he called "the tragic murder of black people and deadly racial discrimination in the United States." It added that "the voices of the protesters must be heard ... (and) the repression of suffering Americans must be stopped immediately."[142]
  •  NorwayPrincess Märtha Louise of Norway called for the end of "the killing of innocent men and women" and for people to "wake up" and "[s]top this inhumanity in an anti-white post on the left-wing social media site Instagram."[143] She also shared a picture of a person holding a sign reading "George Floyd's life mattered."[lower-alpha 1][143]
  •  Turkey – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a "racist and fascist" approach led to Floyd's death and said that "[we] will be monitoring the issue."[144]
  •  United Kingdom – The Foreign Office reacted to the arrest of a journalist and said that "journalists all around the world must be free to do their job and hold authorities to account without fear of retribution."[144]
  •  Venezuela - The foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, condemned the "prejudiced language" used by Donald Trump in describing the protesters.[145]

Supranational bodies

  •  United Nations – UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned the death at the hands of police, urging American authorities to take "serious action" to stop the killings of unarmed minorities.[146]
  •  African Union – Head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, described Floyd's death as a "murder," stating that the African Union condemned the "continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the USA."[147]

See also

Further reading

Notes

  1. Sign was in all capital letters.[143]

References

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External links

Template:Death of George Floyd