• Richard Easson

Mistrust in Minneapolis

By now we should all know about the riots currently taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you've been out of the news loop out of frustration for fake news, I can't blame you, but this is something you should know about.

A video went viral a few days ago of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a suspect who reportedly used a counterfeit $20 bill at a local deli. The suspect, George Floyd, later died at a nearby hospital after falling unconscious from the officer kneeling on his neck for approximately eight minutes. After initially being only fired from the force, the officer, Derek Chauvin, was recently taken into custody in connection with Floyd's death. The other officers who stood around and did nothing were also fired, but were not taken into custody at this time.

The video, along with others, show Floyd complying with the officers and not resisting arrest. The videos have sparked national outrage, especially in Minneapolis where city-wide rioting and looting has been taking place for days now. Video footage from a local Target store shows rioters ransacking everything off of the shelves. Footage from other stores and news outlets show rioters breaking storefront windows and doors, torching businesses until they're engulfed in flames and ultimately crumble to the ground and stealing anything they can get their hands on. A future mixed-use affordable housing complex already in the midst of being built, and with millions of dollars in taxpayer money, was even burnt to the ground.

This post isn't to say that it's wrong to be upset and frustrated about what had happened to George Floyd. It should not have happened whatsoever. To burn businesses down, especially mom-and-pop shops trying to get through the pandemic on a shoestring, is to burn down the livelihood of families just trying to make it. To torch police precincts down to the ground, fire off gunshots and destroy businesses that bring money to the community and give jobs to those who need it is pure stupidity. This level of stupidity is not helping anyone and it is definitely not helping the perpetrators. Local authorities have even pointed out that some of the people there are not even from the community. What'd they come for? A free Xbox from Target? Let out their lockdown frustrations?

The Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, made it mandatory for the city's residents and visitors to wear masks indoors. This same mayor, the one that shut down churches and other houses of worship, warning that allowing 25 percent capacity in churches would be “a recipe in Minneapolis for a public health disaster” during COVID-19 is the same mayor having his government hand out masks to rioters in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

With all due respect, that is one of the most idiotic and hypocritical things I have heard of. If you hate our freedom of religion so much, then just come out and say it. Frey is happy to promote a twisted and criminal version of our freedom of assembly but will put the same right that Puritans sailed here for while putting their lives in danger crossing the Atlantic on the back burner. Simply amazing. You can count on the blue states, cities and towns to allow their own take on what's your right or not as long as it pushes their agenda.

President Trump, on the other hand, although rightfully calling this a sad and unnecessary event, has been receiving a lot of backlash for calling the rioters exactly what they are, thugs. All the racebaiters now come out of the woodwork and start blasting Trump for his choice of words. Yeah, because last time I checked the word thug, according to Webster's Dictionary, was another word for African American, right? (As you can tell, I love sarcasm). It's really just sad when the governor or mayor can't even maintain control of their own territory and protect their own constituents, but what else is new. Trump was blasted for not acting against COVID swiftly enough, but it's perfectly fine for the Minnesota governor, Tim Walz, to spend his time from the safety of his state's capital and hurl insults at Trump while waiting days before calling in the National Guard to assist.

We should reinforce the fact that, surprise surprise, not all cops are evil. As with anything else, there's a couple of rotten apples that will ruin it for everyone, but most of the officers that put on their badge and uniform swore to serve and protect us and took an oath to uphold the Constitution. They risk their lives every day in the line of duty and never know if they'll return back through their front door. There are instances where they have to put their safety first and do what they hope to never do, but at the end of the day, they have families to get back home to and lives to live. Yes, there has unfortunately been a loss of respect for police in some communities, but we have to be better than that and show respect for those who risk it all to protect us and our rights as citizens.