Tensions are escalating after police brazenly murdered George Floyd. All over the nation, people have poured into the streets to protest police brutality and racism.
Minneapolis, where the murder occurred, is on day 4 of protests and tonight faces curfew.
In Louisville, Kentucky, additional protests erupted to protest the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Police responded with tear gas and shot 7 protesters.
Breonna Taylor had been killed in March after plainclothes police raided her home in the middle of the night. Taylor’s boyfriend believed they were experiencing a home invasion and attempted to protect himself and Breonna by shooting one of the men in the leg. Police responded by killing Breonna.
Although police had a warrant to conduct a ‘no-knock raid’ on Taylor’s home, there were no drugs or any evidence of wrongdoing found. The warrant itself was based on the idea that a suspected drug dealer named Jamarcus Glover had visited Taylor’s apartment.
In Denver, a woman frustrated with the increased traffic caused by a protest rally chose to drive her car through the crowd of protesters. Becoming enraged at one protester that tried to block her, the woman purposely chased the man and ran over him.
Protests have taken place in New York, Ohio, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and many other locations around the country. Authorities have responded with various levels of force.
The highest level of force, however, appears to be taking place in Minneapolis where police have chosen to use tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and have called in the National Guard to assist with riot suppression.
Perhaps most disturbing is that President Trump has used his Twitter platform to raise frustrations and escalate the situation.
Calling the protesters ‘THUGS’, President Trump demanded that the “very weak radical left Mayor, Jacob Frey” get the city under control or he would call in the National guard and use the military to suppress the protesters. Jacob Frey criticized Trump back, saying that ‘weakness is pointing your finger at someone else’.
“ I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted after midnight.
“A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” he wrote, even though the National Guard was already deployed.
“ These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he threatened.@realdonaldtrump
Trump is justifying this use of force as a deterrent against looting, but the protests have been mainly peaceful despite the heavy police presence. There have been instances of agent provocateurs stirring trouble. as a man believed to be an undercover police officer was seen smashing windows with a hammer. As well, several businesses in Minneapolis have been looted an burned.
In a bizarre turn of events, the CNN crew covering the riots in Minneapolis were arrested and detained by police.
CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested by the police in the midst off a live broadcast. There is no indication why the police chose to do this when they were fully aware that Jimenez and his crew were from CNN and had been cooperating with the police.
The CNN crew were released from custody later in the day. Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz has now apologized for the arrests.
People have the right to protest and they should be given space to be heard without the threat of further violence. Threatening to shoot the protesters will only escalate the civil unrest.