This newspaper is obviously a supporter of the First Amendment.
After all, our business falls under this most important part of the Constitution. It’s a right afforded to all Americans. In many cases, some people don’t like what others say and vice versa, but differing opinions create dialogue and discussions, which is a big part of what the First Amendment is all about.
Still, there are times when we read or watch when others abuse that right.
Many Americans watched Thursday as peaceful demonstrators marched in protest of the death of George Floyd, a black man whose senseless death Monday under the knee of now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on video. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, and three other officers who were present when Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes have also been fired. As of the time of this writing, charges against them as well were anticipated.
While everyone is certainly entitled to the presumption of innocence, the video of Chavin, who apprehended the unarmed Floyd on suspicion of using counterfeit money, is pretty incriminating and is beyond disturbing to watch. Chauvin’s knee has the handcuffed Floyd’s neck pinned down against a curb as Floyd tells the officer repeatedly that he can’t breathe. Floyd begs to be allowed to stand and asks for his mother not long before it shows his body lying lifeless.
People are heard yelling at the officer to get off his neck so he can breathe. Another officer standing near Chauvin simply stands there and doesn’t interfere or do anything to help Floyd.
While we don’t know all the details and won’t before a formal investigation and trial, it dose appear Chavin used very excessive force on the helpless Floyd.
It was a very sad ending to the man’s life, a violent death with no apparent justification. We stand with those who have peacefully protested Floyd’s death in recent days.
Unfortunately, the peaceful protest Thursday – where, some distance away, marchers were trying to make a legitimate statement – was overshadowed by anarchists who took advantage of Floyd’s death not to bring attention to his case, but to cause unnecessary chaos and destruction.
Hundreds of people could be seen throwing Molotov cocktails into buildings, igniting several buildings on fire – including the police precinct closest to where Floyd was killed. A nearby liquor store was also burned, cars were burned and criminals were seeing inside a Target stealing TVs and other items and beating cash registers to try to get money out of them. Audio from the news cameras caught several rioters shouting, “shoot white folks.”
These criminals – many of whom were wearing masks covering their faces, likely to conceal their identity – showed allegiance not to the remembrance of Floyd’s life or about getting justice for him. It was about causing mass destruction under the cover of darkness to burn down buildings and loot stores.
This is really sad, because the shameless actions of these criminals hijacked what was really important – the peaceful protests blocks away made up of people who took the high road, didn’t resort to violence or destruction and marched peacefully to get the message out that they wanted justice for George Floyd. Their voices are the ones who should’ve been heard and broadcast around the world, not the actions of a bunch of criminals who burned down buildings, stormed the unoccupied burning police station and looted stores.
We rightfully ask: How does burning down police stations and other buildings bring justice for Floyd?
The answer to that is quite simple: It doesn’t.
Thankfully, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has called in more than 500 National Guard troops to return order to the city and help stop the looting and the unwarranted burning of businesses. About 200 Minnesota State Patrol troopers will also assist in public safety efforts over the next several days. The order also declares a peacetime emergency, which activates the State Emergency Operations Center. We commend Walz for taking these steps.
“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect,” Walz said. “George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction. As George Floyd’s family has said, ‘Floyd would not want people to get hurt. He lived his life protecting people.’ Let’s come together to rebuild, remember, and seek justice for George Floyd.”
Walz summed it up perfectly with these words.
We encourage people in Minneapolis and elsewhere to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd, because it is tragic. Their voices need to and deserve to be heard without being hijacked by a bunch of masked criminals whose loyalty isn’t remembering George Floyd’s life or helping bring justice for his death, but whose intention is to commit crimes as they did during Thursday night’s shameful display.
We hope Minneapolis rebuilds and comes together once again and that justice is served for George Floyd and his family.