Looters Trash Minneapolis After George Floyd’s Needless Death, But They Won’t Bring Justice

Looters Trash Minneapolis After George Floyd’s Needless Death, But They Won’t Bring Justice

By all accounts, the death of George Floyd looks like murder by a police officer. Attempting to burn down one of the Midwest’s most beloved cities won’t ensure justice.

In downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota — Rep. Ilhan Omar’s district, to be specific — rioters descended upon the police station and even nearby businesses Wednesday evening, breaking windows, setting fires, and looting. The mob gathered in response to the horrifying death of George Floyd. This video shows multiple officers pinning unarmed Floyd to the ground, one with his knee on Floyd’s neck, cutting off his airway. For nearly five excruciating minutes, Floyd begs for mercy, saying explicitly, “I can’t breathe,” before he dies.

Floyd is someone’s beloved son. His death is horrendous and disgusting. The four police officers involved were put on leave and then supposedly fired, but Minneapolis residents want more. They want justice, as they should.

Forming a mob and descending on private businesses, however, will not do this. In fact, it may only incite more systemic racism, violence, and civic unrest.

Mob Loots Parts of Downtown Minneapolis

A local journalist and others captured videos of the mobs looting private businesses, including a Target, Cub Foods, Auto Zone, and Wendy’s. They also tried to attack the 3rd Precinct police station.

The mob took on police officers trying to quell the looting.

https://twitter.com/MDVancleave/status/1265843425972289545

Not only have the riots damaged private property. Some of the mob descended on a woman in a wheelchair.

The looting may have even led to another death, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Some Minnesotans are stepping up. These self-proclaimed rednecks were grieved by Floyd’s murder. They didn’t agree with the looting, however, so they showed up at the riots to help protect local businesses vulnerable to the mob.

Looting and Rioting Harms the Pursuit of Justice

As a white woman who grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, I can’t understand the pain Floyd’s family and friends are going through, nor the outrage African-American people experience regarding systemic racism. If you read the replies to the Tweet below, you’ll see even Bradley Moss, a self-proclaimed Democrat, get accused of being out of touch, ostensibly “whitesplaining,” or failing to understand the frustration of African-Americans. But that doesn’t make his point any less valid: “Looting isn’t going to bring justice.”

 

Something is undoubtedly very wrong with Minneapolis law enforcement. This is not the first time we’ve seen a police officer act callously, with total disregard for training, common sense, or human life. Offending officers need not just be fired but tried in a court of law, and remaining officers must go through intense, additional training. Without proactive change, this will continue to happen.

A mob filled with righteous indignation is understandable, even good. An organized, peaceful protest aimed at the Minneapolis mayor and law enforcement officials, jamming the phone lines and exercising their right to “peaceful assembly” and to approach the government for “a redress of grievances” are all law-abiding, effective ways toward change. Are they slower than a riot? Absolutely. But they are ultimately more effective. One encourages good law, while the other incurs the law’s consequences.

Surely the civil rights era saw a racism far worse than today. Yet the strongest ally and tool of change was an African-American pastor who supported and demonstrated peaceful protest. This Time article asserts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “lessons about peaceful protests are still relevant”:

“The strong man is the man who will not hit back, who can stand up for his rights and yet not hit back,” King told thousands of Montgomery Improvement Association supporters at the city’s Holt Street Baptist Church on Nov. 14, 1956. The black citizens of Montgomery would demonstrate their humanity while victims of a broken society. Nonviolence was the “testing point” of the burgeoning civil rights movement, King explained. “If we as Negroes succumb to the temptation of using violence in our struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and bitter night of — a long and desolate night of bitterness. And our only legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

Let justice be served following George Floyd’s death. Let law enforcement sever all forms of racism and oppression, power-grabs and hubris. Minneapolis must rest, and its citizens prepare to make way for justice quietly, peacefully, and effectively.

Nicole Russell is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She lives in northern Virginia with her four kids. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm.
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