Protesters gather around after setting fire to the entrance of a police station as demonstrations continue after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 29, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Protesters clashed with Minneapolis police for the third day in a row following the death of George Floyd in police custody. The Third Precinct police station and other buildings around the city burned overnight after protestors charged the precinct’s fence and broke windows to gain entry. In nearby St. Paul, over 170 businesses were damaged or looted Thursday. Governor Tim Walz ordered 500 National Guard troops to the Twin City area on Thursday afternoon. Violent protests sprung up around the country, from New York to Denver to Los Angeles.

CNN Reporter Oscar Jimenez and 3 members of his crew were arrested on-air Friday morning while reporting on the protests. On Thursday, a Minneapolis transit union released a statement of solidarity with the protestors, with some drivers going so far as refusing to transport arrested protestors to jails.

Following the unrest on Thursday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told CNN that he expected all four involved officers to be arrested eventually, but said the ultimate decision will have to come from Hennepin county officials. The main officer involved, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on manslaughter and third-degree murder charges Friday afternoon. In an “unprecedented” move, police nationwide denounced the actions of the officers involved, though civil rights advocates say the condemnation is only “empty words” if no reform comes from them.

The response to the unrest in Minneapolis is a stark comparison to lockdown protests in Michigan. Armed protestors stormed the Capital in Lansing on April 30, and returned 2 weeks later. The protesters made threats against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other lawmakers in a Facebook group prior to the second protest. State Police blocked the protestors from entering the House floor at the April 30 protest, but there were few repercussions for the mostly-white group that violated the state’s stay-at-home orders. President Donald Trump voiced his support for the protestors in Michigan. On Thursday, he called the protestors in Minnesota “thugs” in a tweet flagged by Twitter for inciting violence.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

9 Historical Triumphs to Make You Rethink Property Destruction – Rolling Stone – 5/29/2020
This story was originally published in October 2014, in the wake of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after Officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old Michael Brown to death. Weeks of protests ensued, in which destruction of property was called a “violent” act by those on the right. In the years since, little has changed. On May 26th, 2020, George Floyd was killed when Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck, as onlookers pleaded for him to stop, and he himself said, “I can’t breathe.” Protests erupted in Minneapolis, and have since spread across the country. Once again, some are criticizing the destruction of property as somehow equal — or worse — than the destruction of lives. 

Donald Trump: ‘George Floyd Will Not Have Died in Vain’ – Breitbart – 5/29/2020
President Donald Trump on Friday said that the National Guard was on the scene in Minneapolis to help stop rioting in the city. […] The president commented after three nights of protests and riots took place in the city in reaction to the death of George Floyd after a police officer was filmed pressing down on his neck for several minutes despite pleas for help. The president commented after three nights of protests and riots took place in the city in reaction to the death of George Floyd after a police officer was filmed pressing down on his neck for several minutes despite pleas for help.

In a Divided Nation, a Call to Finally Protect Black Lives Reaches a Fever Pitch – The Root – 5/29/2020
Across America, protestors held up the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and dozens more on handmade signs, demanding justice too long delayed. They wore masks, knowledgeable of the pandemic that still grips this country, but pushed to act because of a more pernicious, more terrorizing epidemic: the ongoing, state-sponsored, state-enabled assault on black lives.

Michael Moore Orders Rioters To Demolish Police HQ, Pushes Kaepernick Call For ‘Revolt’ – The Daily Wire – 5/29/2020
Left-wing documentary filmmaker and vocal Trump critic Michael Moore issued a series of social media posts praising the riots that have engulfed Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd — the 46-year-old African-American man who died after a white officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. In the posts, Moore specifically urges protesters to “demolish” the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Police Precinct headquarters, accuses “White Minnesota” of telling the world that it’s “OK” to “murder” black people, and calls for open “revolt.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Seth Kaplan on Twitter, 5/28/2020: The fire at the MPD’s 3rd Precinct was only at one corner 5 minutes ago. It’s now spread across the entire building. With no firefighters on scene… that building will likely be destroyed tonight.

Martin Luther King III on Twitter, 5/29/2020: My father said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met.”

Mike Pence on Twitter, 5/29/2020: We believe in law and order in this Country. We condemn violence against property or persons. We will always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard.

Hari Kondabolu on Twitter, 5/29/2020: “Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.” The owner of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant in Minneapolis showing us what allyship looks like. Respect.

Lara Trump on Twitter, 5/29/2020: Looting is not protesting. Burning down local homes and businesses is not protesting. How sad that the memory of #GeorgeFloyd has been lost in all of this.

Michele Norris on Twitter, 5/29/2020: Did anyone consider the impact of using tear gas during a pandemic given the near term lasting respiratory distress it can cause. I love my hometown of Minneapolis. In honor of George Floyd and his family, a better, stronger more equitable city must emerge from this. It must

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