The Death of George Floyd and the Events Thereafter
George Floyd died on May 25 after being arrested by Minneapolis police officers near the intersection of Chicago Ave South and 38th Street. The incident, caught on camera by bystanders, shows chilling footage of Floyd on the ground while the officer continues to restrain Floyd by pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck. George Floyd passed away shortly after the arrest, sparking worldwide outrage that turned into protests and riots. In Minneapolis, peaceful protests by day turned into looting and riots by night. Fires erupted, glass shattered, and people’s livelihoods and life savings went up in smoke.
Here is the full video of the incident (viewer discretion advised):
The officer detaining Floyd was identified as Derek Chauvin. Chauvin and the 3 other officers involved were fired from the Minneapolis Police Dept. The public was outraged and called for criminal charges against all officers involved. Protests and riots continued through the Minneapolis/Twin Cities metro area.
While the Twin Cities were in turmoil, citizen journalism stepped up. Twitter exploded with coverage, showing footage of looting and riots that were missing from news channels the first few days after Floyd’s death.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. were the source of breaking news about the George Floyd case. Twitter broke the news of former Officer Chauvin’s arrest and charges.
Minneapolis’s 3rd and 5th precinct were central to the protests and looting, as well as areas in St. Paul on University Ave and Lake Street.
The violence soon escalated and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Governor Walz began talking of sending in the National Guard to keep things under control. They would not do so for the first few days of riots, getting criticism for standing by while violent rioters caused destruction. Governor Walz’s daughter, Hope Walz, took to Twitter to leak State information that the National Guard would not be coming on the first night, as if to promote the looting and rioting. Her account soon went private, but not before the Twitterverse caught on.
Photo via @PeteHegseth on Twitter.
George Floyd’s brother called for an end to the violence, saying that George would never have wanted that.
As the situation got more and more out of hand, calling upon the National Guard was necessary in restoring order in peace. However, the decision was made late, and for 3 days the Twin Cities metro burned. A curfew for Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas was announced so that the Guard was able to identify those causing the destruction.
As the media started to cover the riots occurring in the Twin Cities, some reporters got caught up with law enforcement. A CNN reporter was arrested while broadcasting live.
The National Guard was successful in preventing further damage done to the Twin Cities metro area. They did so with valor and vigor.
There were many groups involved with the protests and riots. The peaceful protestors are separate from those who burned and shattered Minnesota’s communities. The protestors came together in solidarity to celebrate George Floyd’s life, and protest the wrongful acts that led to his death, and the death of many others in the same way. Amidst the violence, there was peace and community. The National Guard even showed their support for those protesting peacefully.
Minnesotans helped one another clean up the damage.
With the presence of the National Guard, the violence came to a stop, but the peaceful protestors kept going. On Sunday, the protestors situated themselves on the I-35W highway, when a semi-truck nearly barreled into the crowd. Thankfully no one was injured. The highway had been closed due to the presence of protestors, but there was no barrier holding the truck driver back when he had driven through. DFL Majority Leader Ryan Winkler went on Twitter and claimed the driver had gone into the crowd intentionally and had with him a confederate flag and white supremacist paraphernalia. That claim was utterly false and sent a wave of misinformation that was reiterated by many, even Governor Walz.
It was later found that the truck driver had unintentionally driven through the crowd, he had no sign of any confederate flag or white supremacist symbols, and was released without charges two days later on June 2, 2020.
Looking back on the events that transpired this week, we see a common theme: lack of leadership. Mayor Jacob Frey’s hesitancy in asking for help from the National Guard saw the destruction of Minneapolis’s 3rd and 5th precincts, and spots in St. Paul. Governor Walz failed to make the final call of sending in the Guard. Because of their inaction, many people’s communities, livelihoods, and more are destroyed not just in Minnesota, but across the country. Now the question is what will happen to the many minority-owned businesses that were demolished?
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka criticized Governor Walz for his inept leadership during this crisis.
Minnesota GOP Chairwoman, Jennifer Carnahan calls for the resignation of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Governor Walz.
Governor Walz and Mayor Frey failed Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota, our Nation, and most importantly, George Floyd. Floyd’s family remembers him as a devout Christian and an honest, respectful member of the community. Floyd moved to Minneapolis from Texas to start a new life, and often encouraged his friends to do the same. He leaves behind his family, his fiancee, and their daughter.