Murder in Minneapolis

It’s my face man I didn’t do nothing serious man please please please I can’t breathe please man please somebody please man I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please (inaudible) …. I cannot breathe I cannot breathe they gon’ kill me they gon’ kill me I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please sir please please please I can’t breathe” Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.

When the looting starts, the shooting starts” – President of the United States, Donald Trump

Murder in Minneapolis
Race relations in the US have not improved since 1968 when the National Guard was called out to suppress a strike by garbage workers in Memphis. Police had murdered one of the strikers. Martin Luther King was also murdered only days later when he came to support the sanitation workers.

Now the National Guard has been deployed in Minneapolis after police murdered George Floyd. One of the latest reports appears below. Ed., WBT.


The officer who pinned George Floyd has been charged with murder.

The former police officer who was seen on video using his knee to pin down George Floyd, a black man who later died, has been arrested and charged with murder, the authorities announced on Friday, after days of growing unrest in Minneapolis escalated with the burning of a police station and protests that drew attention from the White House.

The former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday, the authorities said. He was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, announced on Friday afternoon.

An investigation into the other three officers who were present at the scene on Monday was ongoing, Mr. Freeman said.

The developments came after a night of chaos in which protesters set fire to a police station in Minneapolis, the National Guard was deployed to help restore order, and President Trump injected himself into the mix with tweets that appeared to threaten violence against protesters.a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd: Protesters outside the burning police station in Minneapolis on Thursday. © John Minchillo/Associated Press Protesters outside the burning police station in Minneapolis on Thursday.

The tensions in Minneapolis reflected a growing frustration around the country, as demonstrators took to the streets to protest the death of Mr. Floyd and other recent killings of black men and women.

Mr. Floyd, 46, died on Monday after pleading “I can’t breathe” while a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck, in an encounter that was captured on video.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, expressed solidarity with the protesters during a news conference on Friday, but said that a return to order was needed to lift up the voices of “those who are expressing rage and anger and those who are demanding justice” and “not those who throw firebombs.”a man sitting at a table using a laptop: President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that seeks to punish Facebook, Google and Twitter for the way they police content. © Doug Mills/The New York Times President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that seeks to punish Facebook, Google and Twitter for the way they police content.

President Trump, who previously called the video of Mr. Floyd’s death “shocking,” drew criticism for a tweet early Friday that called the protesters “thugs” and said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The comments prompted Twitter to attach a warning to the tweet, saying that it violated the company’s rules about “glorifying violence.”

Mr. Trump later attempted to explain the tweets with a new set of postings on Friday, but took no questions from reporters at a White House news conference focused on China.

The spectacle of a police station in flames and a president appearing to threaten violence against those protesting the death of a black man in police custody, set against the backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic that has kept many people from engaging with one another directly for months, added to the anxiety of a nation already plagued by crises.a group of people walking down the street: Police formed a perimeter around an area that sustained damage during protests in Minneapolis on Friday. © Tim Gruber for The New York Times Police formed a perimeter around an area that sustained damage during protests in Minneapolis on Friday.

The protests — some peaceful, some marked by violence — have spread across the country, from Denver and Phoenix to Columbus, Ohio, with more expected on Friday night.

Minneapolis will be under a curfew Friday night, with the National Guard on the streets.

Mr. Walz, who activated the National Guard on Thursday as local police appeared to lose control over angry demonstrators, said a curfew would be imposed in Minneapolis on Friday night, and guardsmen would return to the streets in anticipation of more protests.

During a 90-minute news conference on Friday, the governor said that officials should have anticipated that the protests could become violent, but he said it was unrealistic to expect law enforcement to stop people from coming out to demonstrate, even amid the social-distancing orders that have been imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.a group of people on a city street: A demonstration protesting the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., escalated on Thursday night, and seven people were shot. The police said it was too early to determine who did the shooting. © A demonstration protesting the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., escalated on Thursday night, and seven people were shot. The police said it was too early to determine who did the shooting.

“Watching what happened to George Floyd had people say, ‘To hell with staying home,’” he said. “The idea that we would go in and break up those expressions of grief and rage was ridiculous.”a group of people sitting on the side of a road: Protesters near the home of Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after detaining Mr. Floyd. © Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times Protesters near the home of Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after detaining Mr. Floyd.

While acknowledging that the Minneapolis police have lost the trust of city residents, Mr. Waltz implored residents to see the National Guard as a peacekeeping force meant to keep “anarchists” from taking over and destroying more of the city.a stack of flyers on a table: A memorial on Thursday near where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis this week while in police custody. © Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times A memorial on Thursday near where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis this week while in police custody.

“I need to ask Minnesotans, those in pain and those who feel like justice has not been served yet, you need to help us create the space so that justice will be served,” the governor said. “It is my expectation that it will be swift.”

Days of protests had intensified on Thursday night when the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station house was overrun by a crowd of protesters, with some people tossing fireworks and other items at officers, while the police fired projectiles back.

Officers retreated in vehicles just after 10 p.m. Thursday local time as protesters stormed the building — smashing equipment, lighting fires and setting off fireworks, according to videos posted from the scene.

Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis said at a news conference Friday morning that he had made the call for officers to flee the Third Precinct, saying, “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life.”

Mr. Frey, a Democrat, said he understood the anger of the city’s residents but pleaded with people to stop destroying property and looting stores. “It’s not just enough to do the right thing yourself,” he said. “We need to be making sure that all of us are held accountable.”

John Harrington, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said that arrests had been made related to looting on Thursday night, but that he did not know how many. The arrests included people breaking into the grocery stores, Targets and pharmacies, he said.

Trump suggested protesters could be shot, and Twitter said the president violated its rules.

The tweet from President Trump suggesting that protesters in Minneapolis could be shot violated Twitter’s rules against “glorifying violence,” the company said on Friday, escalating tensions between the president and his favorite social media megaphone and injecting Mr. Trump into a growing crisis over police abuse and race that will be another test of his ability to lead an anxious nation.

The company prevented users from viewing Mr. Trump’s message without first reading a brief notice describing the rule violation and also blocked users from liking or replying to Mr. Trump’s post. But the site did not take the message down, saying it was in the public interest for the president’s words remain accessible.

Mr. Trump attempted to explain his earlier tweets in new postings on Friday afternoon. “Looting leads to shooting,” he said, pointing to incidents in Minneapolis and Louisville, Ky., during protests in both places this week. “I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.”

Mr. Trump had begun tweeting about the unrest in Minneapolis around 1 a.m., as cable news showed a Minneapolis police station engulfed in a fire set by protesters. He called the protesters “thugs” and used language that echoed a controversial comment by a former Miami police chief in the late 1960s.

The Miami chief, Walter E. Headley, attracted national attention for using shotguns, dogs and other heavy-handed policies to fight crime in the city’s black neighborhoods. “We haven’t had any serious problems with civil uprising and looting, because I’ve let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he said in 1967, adding, “we don’t mind being accused of police brutality.”

When asked about Mr. Trump’s tweet on Friday, Gov. Walz said, “It’s just not helpful.” “Anything we do to add fuel to that fire is really, really challenging,” he added.

Obama and Biden addressed Mr. Floyd’s death.

Former President Barack Obama on Friday called on the nation to work together to create a “new normal” in which bigotry no longer infects institutions, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. used a short speech to call for “justice for George Floyd.”

In his statement posted to Twitter, Mr. Obama shared parts of conversations he had with friends about the video footage of Mr. Floyd dying in police custody on Monday.

One friend, according to Mr. Obama, said the video pushed him to tears, while another friend used a song from 12-year-old Keedron Bryant, which went viral online, to express his frustrations.

“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us,” he said.

For millions of Americans, being treated differently because of race is “normal,” he said, referencing two other recent cases: Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed after two men confronted him while he was running in South Georgia, and Christian Cooper, who was bird watching in Central Park when a woman called police to say she was being threatened.

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” Mr. Obama said.

He said that in the case of Mr. Floyd, it will be up to Minnesota officials to ensure that justice is served.

“But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station,” Mr. Obama said, “to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also rebuked President Trump for his response to the protests in Minneapolis.

“This is no time for incendiary tweets,” Mr. Biden said in a brief speech delivered via livestream.

“It’s no time to encourage violence. This is a national crisis, and we need real leadership right now. Leadership that will bring everyone to the table so we can take measures to root out systemic racism.” He did not mention Mr. Trump by name.

Describing the United States as “a country with an open wound,” Mr. Biden called for “real police reform” so that “bad cops” are held accountable.

“The pain is too immense for one community to bear alone,” he said.

Mr. Biden said he had just spoken with members of Mr. Floyd’s family, and he addressed them as he concluded his speech. “I promise you, I promise you, we’ll do everything in our power to see to it that justice is had in your brother, your cousin’s case,” he said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who has risen on the national political stage for his coronavirus response, spoke up in defense of the protesters in Minnesota.

“I stand figuratively with the protesters,” he said on Friday. “I stand against the arson and the burglary and the criminality and I think all well-meaning Americans stand with the protesters. Enough is enough.”

Clashes broke out across the country.

Peaceful protests against the death of Mr. Floyd turned chaotic in several cities on Thursday night into Friday morning, with the Denver State Capitol put on lockdown after someone fired a gun near a demonstration, and crowds in Columbus, Ohio, surging up the steps of the State Capitol and breaking windows.

Seven people were struck by gunfire at a protest in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday night as tensions there continued to escalate over the fatal shooting of a black woman by three white police officers in March. Videos posted on social media appeared to show shots being fired while demonstrators surrounded a police vehicle. No officers were among those injured, and it was too early to determine who was responsible, the Louisville Metro Police Department said.

In New York City, protesters gathered at Union Square Thursday afternoon to join a nationwide chorus against police brutality. But by the time the crowds dissipated several hours later into the dark streets, the police said they had arrested 72 people, five of them on charges they had assaulted police officers with street debris in what Chief Terence A. Monahan, the highest ranking uniformed officer, qualified as one of the most unruly and angry demonstrations in his many years in law enforcement.

“We didn’t expect this,” Chief Monahan said in a morning interview with the 1010 WINS radio station. “We didn’t expect them to be so confrontational and right off the bat charging police officers and pushing police officers.”

Images on social media showed at times chaotic scenes as the mostly young protesters, many of them wearing face coverings, clashed with uniformed officers. Some carried signs that read “No Justice, No Peace” and chanted “I can’t breathe.”

Leslie Herod, a state representative in Colorado, said she had heard several shots near the Denver Statehouse. The Police Department said no injuries were immediately reported.

In Ohio, the police could be seen rushing to the Capitol and ordering protesters to disperse, while downtown, officers used pepper spray on large crowds.

Similar episodes occurred in Phoenix, where hundreds of protesters marched toward the State Capitol relatively calmly before gatherings grew more tense through the night, as some protesters threw stones at the city’s Police Department.

Near the Phoenix State Capitol, a pregnant woman was photographed in apparent pain on the ground. A reporter wrote on Twitter that she had been pepper sprayed.

A video taken at the Denver protest appeared to show the driver of a black S.U.V. plowing through a crowd of protesters who had blocked traffic near the Statehouse. As a protester jumped off the car, the driver sped up and knocked into him. It was unclear whether the protester had been wounded.

“I share the immense anguish we all feel about the unjust murder of George Floyd,” Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said in a statement. “But let me be clear, senseless violence will never be healed by more violence.”

Peaceful protests were held in several other cities on Thursday night. Demonstrators in Albuquerque, marched through the streets, and in Portland, Ore., a small group waved signs near the Portland Police Bureau.

A CNN crew covering the protests is arrested on live television.

A CNN reporting team was arrested live on television early Friday while covering the protests in Minneapolis, an extraordinary interference with freedom of the press that drew outrage from First Amendment advocates and an apology from Minnesota’s governor.

The CNN crew, led by the correspondent Omar Jimenez, was released by the police after spending about an hour in custody. In the moments before the 5 a.m. arrest, Mr. Jimenez could be heard identifying himself as a reporter and offering to move to wherever he and his team were directed.

“Put us back where you want us, we are getting out of your way, just let us know,” Mr. Jimenez told the police officers, who were outfitted in riot gear, as the network broadcast the exchange live.

Instead, he and his team — Bill Kirkos, a producer, and Leonel Mendez, a camera operator — had their hands bound behind their backs. Their camera was placed on the ground, still rolling; CNN anchors watching from New York sounded stunned as they reported on their colleagues’ arrests.

Lawyers at CNN reached out to the Minnesota authorities, and the network’s president, Jeffrey A. Zucker, spoke briefly on Friday morning with the state’s governor, Tim Walz.

Mr. Walz told Mr. Zucker that the arrest was “inadvertent” and “unacceptable,” according to CNN’s account of the call. By about 6:30 a.m. local time, the crew had been released and was back on television.

“Everyone, to their credit, was pretty cordial,” Mr. Jimenez said of his interaction with the police officers after his arrest. “As far as the people that were leading me away, there was no animosity there. They weren’t violent with me. We were having a conversation about just how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city.”

The network had noted in a post on Twitter: “A black reporter from CNN was arrested while legally covering the protests in Minneapolis. A white reporter also on the ground was not.”

Josh Campbell, a CNN correspondent who was also reporting from Minneapolis, said, “There’s a level of heavy-handedness that we’re not used to.”

Kentucky’s governor tied the Louisville protests to slavery’s legacy.

Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky said Friday morning that the protests over the fatal shooting by the police of a black woman reflected a city still affected by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

He also said that the protesters’ anger underscored distress over the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected black people.

Seven people were shot during demonstrations in Louisville on Thursday night as they protested the killing of the woman, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician. She was shot in her home in March during a narcotics investigation. The F.B.I. has said it is investigating the shooting.

“What we have seen is a response to a very concerning shooting of an E.M.T., a young woman who worked to save the lives of others here in Kentucky,” Mr. Beshear said on CNN.

Hundreds of demonstrators made their way through the city throughout Thursday evening. Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said the gathering began peacefully but escalated to involve assaults on officers and property damage.

Videos posted on social media appeared to show shots being fired while demonstrators surrounded a police vehicle. It was too early to determine who was responsible, the Louisville Metro Police Department said. Mr. Beshear said the protests began as a demonstration to honor Ms. Taylor and demand justice for her.

“Some other folks, very late, more than three hours in, came in and ultimately instigated and caused some actions and turned it into something that it should not have been,” he told CNN.

Mr. Beshear read a statement from Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, that called on protesters to keep demanding justice but to do it peacefully.

“‘Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile and to bringing people together,’” he read. “‘The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence.’”

Hours before the protests started in Louisville, Mr. Beshear said the fatal shooting of Ms. Taylor pointed to flaws in the “no-knock warrant” system that the police used to enter her home.

Authorities had initially charged Kenneth Walker, Mr. Taylor’s boyfriend, with attempted murder for shooting a police officer in the leg during the intrusion.

Mr. Walker told investigators that he did not hear police announce themselves and was terrified when the door was knocked down.

On Friday, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said that the police officers involved in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis “look pretty darn guilty,” calling the incident “a hideous crime.”

But Mr. McConnell, a Louisville resident, condemned protests in his hometown and across the country, telling reporters that violence was “not helpful.”

“I think what’s happening in Louisville and in Minneapolis really needs to stop,” Mr. McConnell said.

“This senseless violence and reaction to this is not helpful. But you can certainly understand the outrage.”

Many police departments have sought to ban the use of neck restraints.

In the cellphone video of Mr. Floyd’s death, the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, presses a knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes until the man on the ground stops speaking or moving.

For police trainers and criminologists, the episode appears to be a textbook case of why many police departments across the country have sought to outright ban or limit the use of chokeholds or other neck restraints in recent years: The practices have too often turned fatal.

“It is a technique that we don’t use as much anymore because of the vulnerability,” said Mylan Masson, a former police officer who ran a training program for the Minneapolis police for 15 years until 2016. “We try to stay away from the neck as much as possible.”

Department records indicate, however, that the Minneapolis police have not entirely abandoned the use of neck restraints, even if the method used by Officer Chauvin is no longer part of police training.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s manual states that neck restraints and chokeholds are basically reserved only for when an officer is caught in a life-or-death situation. There was no such apparent threat during Mr. Floyd’s detention.

Criminologists viewing the tape said that the knee restraint not only put dangerous pressure on the back of the neck, but that Mr. Floyd was also kept lying on his stomach for too long. Both positions — the knee on the neck and lying face down — run the risk of cutting off the oxygen supply.

State prosecutors are weighing charges as the Justice Department promised a thorough investigation.

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it would investigate the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and determine whether they should face federal criminal charges.

The investigation will be led by the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, Erica MacDonald, and by F.B.I. agents in Minneapolis. Attorney General William P. Barr and the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Eric Dreiband, are closely monitoring their inquiry, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and F.B.I. criminal investigators to the matter,” the department said in a statement.

The department noted that is a violation of federal law for an officer acting in an official capacity to deprive another person of his or her constitutional rights, including the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment.

Mr. Chauvin and three other officers at the scene, who did nothing to stop Mr. Chauvin, were fired on Tuesday, and Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis has called for Mr. Chauvin to be arrested and charged. The Minneapolis Police Department has identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.

The Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison, said on Friday that he expected charges to be filed against the officers. “I have every expectation that they will be,” he said on CNN. But he added the county attorney’s office had primary jurisdiction.

“I hope they are soon,” he added.

‘I want to see action’: Mr. Floyd’s family calls for murder charges.

Mr. Floyd’s death — and the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African-American man who was chased and fatally shot by two white men in Georgia — has prompted comparisons to other killings of black Americans, including Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

The episode was seen as part of a broader pattern of devastating encounters between African-Americans and law enforcement denounced by civil rights leaders. It has laid bare tensions between members of the local community and the 800-plus police force in Minneapolis, a divide mirrored in other communities across the country.

Mr. Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, called for justice on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,” Ms. Floyd said.

Other members of the Floyd family, appearing on “This Morning” on CBS, said that protests were not enough.

“I don’t want the protests to be for just show,” said Tera Brown, Mr. Floyd’s cousin, who appeared with two of Mr. Floyd’s brothers. “I want to see action.”

“This was clearly murder,” she added. “We want to see them arrested; we want to see them charged; we want to see them convicted for what they did.”

Stephen Jackson, the former N.B.A. player and now podcast host, told “The Today Show” on Thursday that the death of Mr. Floyd, a longtime friend, “destroyed” him.

“I jumped up, screamed, scared my daughter and almost broke my hand punching stuff because I was so mad,” Mr. Jackson said, describing his reaction when he learned the news.

Mr. Jackson told “The Breakfast Club” podcast that he grew up with Mr. Floyd in the Houston area. He joked that they looked so much alike that they could have the same father, so would refer to each other as “Twin.”

“Neighborhoods, they all get beefing,” Mr. Jackson said. “But you always have one guy that can go to all the neighborhoods and everybody will rock with him. Floyd was that guy.”

Trump Administration speaks with multiple voices on protests.

President Trump’s aggressive tweets about riots in Minneapolis on Friday led Twitter to determine he had violated the platform’s rules against glorifying violence. Messages from others in his administration were starkly different.

“Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence,” Melania Trump, the first lady, wrote on Twitter. “I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.”

Officials in the Trump administration often take a freelance approach to issuing their own statements, and with Mrs. Trump, it has been a point of pride that her messages can show a starkly different tone from her husband’s. But in the midst of a deadly pandemic and riots around the country, the result on Friday was a lack of a unified message.

While Mr. Trump disparaged protesters in Minnesota as “thugs,” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, said in a tweet that she understood why people in Minneapolis were in pain and why they were calling for the arrest of the police officer who had placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.

“People in Minneapolis are hurting for a reason,” Ms. Trump wrote. “Justice is how we heal. My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family and all Americans who are hurting.”

On Friday, the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump’s social media adviser, Dan Scavino, stayed focused on what they said were issues of censorship against conservatives on social media. Mr. Scavino, the White House deputy director of communications, used his official account to lob an expletive at the company.

Reporting was contributed by Victoria Bekiempis, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Audra D.S. Burch, Maria Cramer, Julie Davis, Sopan Deb, Katie Glueck, Russell Goldman, John Eligon, Matt Furber, Maggie Haberman, Christine Hauser, Jack Healy, Dan Levin, Neil MacFarquhar, Sarah Mervosh, Elian Peltier, Katie Rogers, Edgar Sandoval, Marc Santora Neil Vigdor, Mike Wolgelenter and Raymond Zhong.

5 thoughts on “Murder in Minneapolis

  1. Liberal response to George Floyd's murder says:

    American liberalism was critical of the violence behind the riots after Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Authorities claimed the Black Panther Party was responsible for the violence and cracked down on them.
    Trump claims that Antifa is behind the protests against police murder of George Floyd.

    Q. Is a similar phenomenon playing out now?

    Ans. Antifa isn’t the problem. Trump’s bluster is a distraction from police violence.

    Did the tragic video of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis throw you into a fit of rage? Of sadness and despair? Did it make you want to burn down a police station?

    Whether it did or (more likely) did not, you might be among the many Americans who sympathize with the outburst of anger behind the overturning of police cruisers and the smashing of storefronts in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death, even if you disagree with property destruction. Though “violent” protest tactics are generally unpopular, they command attention and force us to ask: How did we get here?

    President Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr and their allies have a simple and convenient answer: “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left,” as Trump tweeted on Saturday. “In many places,” Barr explained, “it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic … and far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.” “Domestic extremists,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted, are “taking advantage of protest to further their own unrelated agenda.” After another night of destruction that included the burning of the former slave market called the Market House in Fayetteville, N.C., Trump upped the stakes on Sunday by declaring that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

    Trump’s reckless accusations lack evidence, like many of his claims. But they also intentionally misrepresent the anti-fascist movement in the interest of delegitimizing militant protest and deflecting attention away from the white supremacy and police brutality that the protests oppose.

    Who are the antifa?

    Short for anti-fascist in many languages, antifa (pronounced AN-tifa) or militant antifascism is a politics of social revolutionary self-defense applied to fighting the far right which traces its heritage back to the radicals who resisted Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in Italy and Germany a century ago. Many Americans had never heard of Antifa before masked antifascists smashed windows to shut down Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley, Calif., in early 2017 or confronted white supremacists in Charlottesville later that year — when a fascist murdered Heather Heyer and injured many more with his car in a way that frighteningly presaged the New York police officers who drove into protesters on Saturday in Brooklyn.

    Based on my research into antifa groups, I believe it’s true that most, if not all, members do wholeheartedly support militant self-defense against the police and the targeted destruction of police and capitalist property that has accompanied it this week. I’m also confident that some members of antifa groups have participated in a variety of forms of resistance during this dramatic rebellion. Yet it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of people who belong to antifa groups because members hide their political activities from law enforcement and the far right, and concerns about infiltration and high expectations of commitment keep the sizes of groups rather small. Basically, there are nowhere near enough anarchists and members of antifa groups to have accomplished such breathtaking destruction on their own. Yes, the hashtag “#IamAntifa” trended on Twitter on Sunday, suggesting a very broad support of the politics of antifascism. Yet there is a significant difference between belonging to an organized antifa group and supporting their actions online.

    Trump’s declaration seems impossible to enforce — and not only because there is no mechanism for the president to designate domestic groups as terrorist organizations. Though antifa groups exist, antifa itself is not an organization. Self-identified antifa groups like Rose City Antifa in Portland, Ore., the oldest currently existing antifa group in the country, expose the identities of local Nazis and confront the far right in the streets. But antifa itself is not an overarching organization with a chain of command, as Trump and his allies have been suggesting. Instead, largely anarchist and anti-authoritarian antifa groups share resources and information about far-right activity across regional and national borders through loosely knit networks and informal relationships of trust and solidarity.

    And in the United States, antifa have never killed anyone, unlike their enemies in Klan hoods and squad cars.

    Trump loves the rule of law. As long as it targets his enemies.

    Though the specific tradition of militant antifascism inspired by groups in Europe came to the United States in the late 1980s with the creation of Anti-Racist Action, a wide variety of Black and Latinx groups, such as the Black Panthers and Puerto Rican Movimiento de Liberación Nacional (MLN), situated their struggle in terms of antifascism in the 1970s and 1980s. Expanding the picture further, we can trace the broader tradition of collective self-defense against white supremacy and imperialism even farther back through resistance to indigenous genocide and the legacy of militant black liberation represented by Malcolm X, Robert F. Williams, C.L.R. James, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman and slave rebellions. This black radical tradition, black feminism and more recent abolitionist politics influenced by organizations like Critical Resistance and Survived and Punished clearly inform the actions of protesters far more than antifa (though there are black antifa and others who have been influenced by all of the above).

    Trump is conjuring the specter of “antifa” (while Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz blamed “white supremacists” and “the cartel”) to break the connection between this popular groundswell of anti-racist and black activism that has developed over recent years and the insurrections that have exploded across the country in recent days — which put police brutality in full view whether we agree with how it got there or not. Paradoxically, this move actually suggests a tacit acknowledgment of popular sympathy with the grievances and tactics of the protesters: If torching malls and police stations were sufficient on their own to delegitimize protests, there would be no need to blame “antifa.”

    This is not the first time Trump or other GOP politicians have called for antifa to be declared a “terrorist” organization. So far, such calls have amounted to little more than rhetoric — but they carry an ominous potential. If antifa groups are composed of a wide range of socialists, anarchists, communists and other radicals, then declaring antifa to be a “terrorist” organization would pave the way to criminalizing and delegitimizing all politics to the left of Joe Biden.

    But in the case of the George Floyd protests, right-wing attempts to blame everything on antifa — perceived by many to be predominantly white — evince a kind of racism that assumes that black people couldn’t organize on this deep and wide of a scale. Trump and his allies also have a more specific motive: If the flames and broken glass were simply blamed on “antifa” or “outsiders” — as if anyone had to travel very far to protest — then the urgency would shift from addressing the root causes of Floyd’s death to figuring out how to stop the shadowy boogeyman Trump rails against. Even if you disagree with property destruction, it’s easy to see the chain of events between Floyd’s death and burning police cars. Trump’s misinformation aims to mislead us all.


  2. Black Lives Matter (Brisbane) says:

    Invite everyone and make your voice be heard! Let us all fight for whats right, let us all fight for George Floyd. No lives matter until black lives matter!!

    407 Australian Indigenous people have died in police custody.
    Police have killed over 1200 black people since 2015 in the United States.


    * DO NOT hurt innocent people.
    * DO NOT damage anything.
    * PLEASE wear mask as corona is still around.
    * PLEASE stay home if you’re sick.
    * Bring Posters to honouring those who have been killed in police custody


    The intention is to march to join the event in King George Square at 1pm being held by the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and we are meeting with WAR this week to discuss how to best coordinate the rallies.

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