NEW YORK – President Trump announced on Twitter early this morning his intention to send the National Guard to Minneapolis, Minn. in response to protests over the recent killing of George Floyd. In that same tweet thread, the President threatened to shoot protestors saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Jeffery Robinson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, highlighted the vicious implications of President Trump’s incendiary language in the following statement:
“President Trump’s statement that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ is hypocritical, immoral, and illegal. While President Trump has recently claimed to be concerned about honoring the memory of Mr. Floyd, his actions consistently demonstrate a gross disregard for the racial terror and police violence that communities of color across the country experience on a regular basis. We call on the National Guard and law enforcement in Minneapolis to comply with the law and not President Trump.
“President Trump has told police officers in New York that they should feel free to use violence against ‘thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon.’ He did not hesitate to claim to a foreign leader that there is no racial problem in America. The president’s latest suggestion that law enforcement or the military should literally murder protesters is, unfortunately, no longer shocking. President Trump’s response ignores the fact that the inherent problem is not the reaction to Mr. Floyd’s murder. The problem is Mr. Floyd’s murder.
“No one has to approve of the rioting in Minneapolis and St. Paul to understand why it is happening. The protests in Minnesota and elsewhere are a direct response to the systemic violence that police perpetrate in Black communities across this country.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. The police violence and murder in the Black community in America must stop immediately. Prosecutors in Minnesota must hold accountable the officers responsible for George Floyd’s murder – the officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck as he gasped ‘I can’t breathe,’ and those who, by failing to do anything to intervene, approved their colleague’s decision to murder Mr. Floyd. Holding these officers accountable is the bare minimum needed to show that our legal system recognizes that Black lives actually matter. The next step must be bold changes that address the racism at the root of our policing institutions.”