0 Shares 130 Views

‘Burn It Down. Let Them Pay’: Chaos Erupts in Minneapolis as Man Shot Amid Protest

May 28, 2020
0 131
Solomon Gustavo for The Daily Beast

MINNEAPOLIS—Flames and black smoke poured into the sky over Minneapolis late Wednesday as the second day of protests over the death of George Floyd took a violent turn, with a local business near police headquarters set ablaze and at least one person fatally shot in the area. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed the shooting shortly before midnight local time, but he did not say if it was connected to the protests, according to the Star Tribune. A video shared on Twitter and purportedly filmed at the scene showed medics frantically trying to save a man lying on the ground; at one point one of the medics can be heard urging people to stay away, yelling, “There’s somebody in there with a rifle, back up! Back up!”” data-reactid=”18″>Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed the shooting shortly before midnight local time, but he did not say if it was connected to the protests, according to the Star Tribune. A video shared on Twitter and purportedly filmed at the scene showed medics frantically trying to save a man lying on the ground; at one point one of the medics can be heard urging people to stay away, yelling, “There’s somebody in there with a rifle, back up! Back up!”

The shooting came amid reports of widespread looting and a major fire at an AutoZone near the police headquarters.

For some protesters who’d faced down the threat of tear gas and rubber bullets all day, the fire was nothing compared to the death of Floyd, 46, an unarmed black man whose last moments were captured on camera for the whole world to see as a white police officer knelt on his neck. 

“The whole city can burn down. They should all be out here protesting, not just people who care about black lives. Everybody. Burn it down. Make them pay. Maybe then they’ll understand,” one protester, Elicia S.—she declined to give her full last name—told The Daily Beast late Wednesday. 

“I read somewhere that you’re never gonna care until it hits your front door. We are here now, knocking in the front door,” demonstrator Becky Mathews added.  

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo for The Daily Beast

” data-reactid=”30″>

Solomon Gustavo for The Daily Beast

The chaos came after police tried to fend off protesters surrounding Third Precinct headquarters by erecting barricades and firing projectiles at the crowd.

One demonstrator, Jeremy Kocke, held up the back of his shirt to show a large bruise forming from a rubber bullet. “I turned around and was shot in the back,” he said Wednesday evening. “I didn’t do anything to get shot.”

The 32-year-old was one of several protesters struck by projectiles after activists surrounded the department’s embattled precinct. Some threw water bottles and rocks over a hastily constructed police barricade. From the roof, looming police brandished weapons at the crowd below.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kocke and a roommate had listened to Minneapolis City Council members “talk about how the police need to be restrained and will show restraint,” he told The Daily Beast. “They asked protesters to show restraint. But they [the police] aren’t. This isn’t restraint. There is no restraint. This is chaos.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Like COVID-19 death rates and social distancing arrests, a new wave of protests—and their police response—are highlighting racial disparities in the coronavirus era. Tuesday’s initial demonstrations in Minneapolis, which protested the death of Floyd, likewise saw officers in riot gear crack down on demonstrators, striking at least one protester in the head with a rubber bullet and bloodying a reporter. Meanwhile, right-wing “reopen” protests in Minnesota and elsewhere have generally proceeded without police violence, even as mostly white demonstrators—some with extremist ties—occupied government buildings with semi-automatic rifles.” data-reactid=”45″>Like COVID-19 death rates and social distancing arrests, a new wave of protests—and their police response—are highlighting racial disparities in the coronavirus era. Tuesday’s initial demonstrations in Minneapolis, which protested the death of Floyd, likewise saw officers in riot gear crack down on demonstrators, striking at least one protester in the head with a rubber bullet and bloodying a reporter. Meanwhile, right-wing “reopen” protests in Minnesota and elsewhere have generally proceeded without police violence, even as mostly white demonstrators—some with extremist ties—occupied government buildings with semi-automatic rifles.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis Cop Shown Kneeling on George Floyd’s Neck, Hires Philando Castile Shooter’s Lawyer ” data-reactid=”48″>Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis Cop Shown Kneeling on George Floyd’s Neck, Hires Philando Castile Shooter’s Lawyer

Activists in Minneapolis say race is a motivating factor in police responses to the protests. It’s why some say they’re coming out to protest—even during a deadly pandemic—in the first place, and why an increasingly volatile landscape in a progressive city began to take on the feel of Ferguson-style unrest.

“Throwing tear gas at kids is not going to help,” Leslie Redmon, president of the Minneapolis NAACP,  told The Daily Beast. 

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo

” data-reactid=”58″>

Solomon Gustavo

Redmon said she was among the demonstrators hit with tear gas on Tuesday and that the heavy-handed response would not improve the police’s relationship with protesters.

Nekima Levy-Armstrong, Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network, a racial equality group, described the police response as “excessive and militarized.” Officers were filmed using tear gas, rubber bullets, and what appeared to be stun grenades on demonstrators on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. 

“There was no communication to protesters that police were going to start shooting projectiles and shooting rubber bullets and spraying tear gas,” Levy-Armstrong told The Daily Beast, echoing activists and journalists who were caught in the crossfire. “They just started doing it. They didn’t give people time to leave the area if they didn’t want to engage with police on that level.”

Monique Cullars-Doty, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, said the police response hindered medical care for at least one person struck in the head with a rubber bullet. 

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo

” data-reactid=”73″>

Solomon Gustavo

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“They called 9-1-1 and the protesters were told that the police [on the scene] were the first responders and no medical attention was given. They were trying to get this person to ride to the hospital,” said Cullars-Doty, whose own nephew was killed by police in nearby St. Paul in 2015.” data-reactid=”77″>“They called 9-1-1 and the protesters were told that the police [on the scene] were the first responders and no medical attention was given. They were trying to get this person to ride to the hospital,” said Cullars-Doty, whose own nephew was killed by police in nearby St. Paul in 2015.

After witnessing one night of tear gas, Lisa Grimm brought water and milk to Wednesday night’s protest. “I live less than a mile away from the murder. This is my home,” she told The Daily Beast.

“How have the killers not been arrested and held like anyone else? This wouldn’t be happening like this. We wouldn’t have to risk our safety. We wouldn’t be at risk for coronavirus. It’s common logic.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Some of the response might have stemmed from the police department’s unprecedented decision to fire four officers involved in Floyd’s death. A viral video showed Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes after police apprehended him over an alleged forgery. In the harrowing video, captured by a bystander, Floyd repeatedly states that he cannot breathe and that he is dying. Bystanders plead with Chauvin to get off Floyd, noting that he appears to have died. Although police initially claimed Floyd later died in the hospital after a “medical incident,” a Minneapolis Fire Department report found that he had no pulse when he was placed in an ambulance.” data-reactid=”80″>Some of the response might have stemmed from the police department’s unprecedented decision to fire four officers involved in Floyd’s death. A viral video showed Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes after police apprehended him over an alleged forgery. In the harrowing video, captured by a bystander, Floyd repeatedly states that he cannot breathe and that he is dying. Bystanders plead with Chauvin to get off Floyd, noting that he appears to have died. Although police initially claimed Floyd later died in the hospital after a “medical incident,” a Minneapolis Fire Department report found that he had no pulse when he was placed in an ambulance.

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo

” data-reactid=”88″>

Solomon Gustavo

The four officers’ brisk firings were a first for the city and may have motivated police response to protesters, Levy-Armstrong argued. (The Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment.)

“They want to retaliate,” she told The Daily Beast earlier Wednesday. “They’re angry, they’re upset, and that’s what we witnessed last night. Why did they need to wear riot gear and treat people like they were serious threats?”

Images from reopen protests, including of white militia members lynching an effigy of Georgia’s governor, or armed protesters storming Michigan’s statehouse, have led some protesters to question whether activists of color could get away with the same stunts.

“When I look and see the angry white protester with their guns and having the opportunity to celebrate their constitutional rights, then look at black protesters who are peaceful…  getting tear gas and shot with rubber bullets,” said Toya Woodland, a minister and Black Lives Matter activists. “We’ve never been looked at as whole people. We’re still being looked at as animals, by the Three-Fifths Compromise,” she said, referring to the part of the U.S. Constitution classifying enslaved people as less than fully human.

Carmen Perez-Jordan, president of the nonprofit The Gathering for Justice, likewise tied the disparity in police response to America’s centuries-long racial divides.

“How is it that an officer feels safe with an armed white person yelling and spitting in their face, but not with an unarmed black person?” she asked. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Minneapolis, in particular, has struggled with those narratives. In 2015, Minneapolis police shot and killed Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man. When activists staged a days-long occupation outside the police station in protest, white supremacists fired on the crowd, seriously wounding five people.” data-reactid=”98″>Minneapolis, in particular, has struggled with those narratives. In 2015, Minneapolis police shot and killed Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man. When activists staged a days-long occupation outside the police station in protest, white supremacists fired on the crowd, seriously wounding five people.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In 2016, a police officer in nearby Falcon Heights shot and killed Philando Castile, a black man during a traffic stop, while Castile’s girlfriend and her young daughter looked on in horror. Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has hired the lawyer who defended Castile’s killer.” data-reactid=”99″>In 2016, a police officer in nearby Falcon Heights shot and killed Philando Castile, a black man during a traffic stop, while Castile’s girlfriend and her young daughter looked on in horror. Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has hired the lawyer who defended Castile’s killer.

Protests over Castile’s killing were also marked by arrests.

“My friend had a bouquet of flowers in her hand, and there’s a photo of her being arrested,” Cullars-Doty said. “How much more peaceful can you be when you’re just standing holding flowers?”

She noted that the Castile protests had taken place at the state capitol, where reopen protesters had demonstrated earlier this month, without incident. (The protests took place in neighboring St. Paul, which has its own police force.)

Reopen protesters don’t deserve the crackdown Minneapolis protesters experienced, Perez-Jordan noted. But their demands differ. 

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo

” data-reactid=”111″>

Solomon Gustavo

“Black and brown people are asking for their full humanity to be respected. They’re asking for the right to live,” she said, as opposed reopen protesters who are demanding “a perceived right to access to privilege, like having a certain haircut or being able to go out to eat in public. That’s very different from what we’re seeing online every single day when it comes to police officers who can kill an unarmed black person or an unarmed brown person with impunity.”

And while reopen protesters will theoretically go home when the lockdowns end, Minneapolis protesters said the demonstrations might continue.

Anika Bowie, an activist who attended the Minneapolis protests on Wednesday, said the demonstrations were building on momentum from the Black Lives Matter protests that touched off after the killing of black teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Just since Ferguson, we’ve had this whole backlog of history of police brutality,” she said. “Now, we have more networks to exchange this information and communication.” 

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="

Solomon Gustavo

” data-reactid=”126″>

Solomon Gustavo

In spite of the coronavirus, Tuesday night’s protests were the largest Levy-Armstrong had ever seen, she said, with thousands of people RSVPing on Facebook. 

Cullars-Doty attributed them to the nature of Floyd’s death. It wasn’t the first time a horrific video of a black man who died in police custody went viral. But the deaths are adding up.

“That video that we just have is gut-wrenching,” she said. “I was getting messages from people who haven’t been out protesting ever. They’re saying now that they’re either fed up; they sat on the sidelines too long and some people have had their eyes opened. So I think this really is a big one.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more at The Daily Beast.” data-reactid=”133″>Read more at The Daily Beast.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here” data-reactid=”134″>Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!” data-reactid=”135″>Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.” data-reactid=”136″>Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

You may be interested

Nigerian police rescue Kano man locked up in his parents' garage
Entertainment
25 views
Entertainment
25 views

Nigerian police rescue Kano man locked up in his parents' garage

Webby - August 14, 2020

A Nigerian man has been rescued from the garage of his parents' house in the northern city of Kano, where he had been locked up for three…

Entertainment
25 views

Trump and his allies got a win. Palestinians had their isolation writ large.

Webby - August 14, 2020

With friends like these, who needs enemies?Many Palestinians will be reciting a version of this adage on Friday, a day after the United Arab Emirates said it…

US economist proposes $12 trillion in slavery reparations to eliminate black-white wealth gap
Entertainment
27 views
Entertainment
27 views

US economist proposes $12 trillion in slavery reparations to eliminate black-white wealth gap

Webby - August 14, 2020

EPAA renowned economist has said that $12 trillion should be afforded to black Americans in reparation for slavery to help the close wealth gap.Duke University professor, William…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Most from this category