Forty-six-year-old George Floyd died Monday, after being brutalized by Minneapolis police during an arrest for allegedly attempting to pass off a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. The deadly arrest was captured on video and spread very quickly around the world. Four of the police officers involved have since been fired, but have not been charged with any wrongdoing. Protests began Tuesday.
The second day of protests led to an escalation between law enforcement and protesters, with police shooting “non-lethal” projectiles at protesters, as well as sending tear gas canisters and pepper spray into the crowds. A number of instances of looting, property damage, and fires also proliferated throughout the night.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey asked for the Minnesota National Guard to help with the civil unrest. As Thursday began, peaceful protests started anew, with 1,000s hitting the streets across the country in protest of not only the unjust death of George Floyd but those of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Laquan McDonald, Ezell Ford, John Crawford III, Jerame Reid, Antonio Martin, Renisha McBride, Meagan Hockaday, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Jonathan Sanders, William Chapman, Corey Jones, Jamar Clark, Charley Leundeu Keunang, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Korryn Gaines, Abdirahman Abdi, Atatiana Jefferson, Mario Woods, Keith Lamont Scott, Terence Crutcher, Breonna Taylor, and thousands of others, many of whose names have been lost to the annals of our country’s race war.
Thousands of people hit the streets Thursday, and things began to escalate as the day went on. Late in the afternoon, Minneapolis officials held an outdoor press conference, where they announced that they would not necessarily be charging anyone with anything and everybody should have “patience.” But it was probably this section of Hennepin County attorney Michael O. Freeman’s statement to the world that angered people the most.
Star Tribune columnist Jennifer Brooks posted a video of a caravan of police SUVs driving down a street lined with protesters holding signs. The last SUV—completely unprompted—began spraying what seems to be mace or industrial levels of pepper spray out of the driver’s window at the bystanders. To be clear, no one was impeding the route these police officers were taking to get wherever they were going.
This thread offers a very good breakdown of how race in our white supremacist country influences how the state and media point their fingers.
Back in Minneapolis Thursday night, protesters at the Third Precinct, where the four former police officers involved in the George Floyd death were based, overtook the building. Staff fled and the protesters stormed the building, setting fires.
Fire very quickly seemed to consume the entire station.
Not everyone was celebrating, of course.
Here’s a reminder of how many people look at the deaths of unarmed Black folks.
And then there’s this asshole, who just had to add his racist two cents.