The United States is engulfed in ongoing civil unrest as major cities across the country have faced protests and riots following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody May 25.
Some Democrats have inflamed and encouraged the riots in many cases with statements either denying the violence or shifting the blame to President Donald Trump and his supporters. Here is a timeline of major riots that have taken place in American cities and how Democrats have responded to them.
A Facebook video uploaded May 26 depicted Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placing his knee onto Floyd’s neck during an encounter that took place one day prior and led to Floyd’s death.
Civil unrest began to grow May 27 as protestors took to the streets of Minneapolis. Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested National Guard support May 28 after violence and looting destroyed parts of the city. A police precinct was set on fire and by mid-June the Twin Cities had seen at least two deaths, 619 arrests and $500 million in damage to 1,500 properties according to the Star Tribune.
Good citizens burning down the evil police precinct in MN after all police were out & safe. All police should go home. No violence please. Police HQ must be demolished by the city tomorrow as a show of contrition to black America. Rebuild PD with decent kind ppl aka ppl of color
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) May 29, 2020
MSNBC commentator Zerlina Maxwell demanded that the media stop calling the situation a “riot” in a tweet May 29.
Please stop calling this a riot. There are other words to describe this. Use them.
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) May 29, 2020
Frey said Trump “knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis” in a statement May 29 after the president slammed the mayor for not controlling the riots. Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Trump of “calling for violence” in a tweet May 29 after the president said he would deploy the National Guard.
I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
A peaceful demonstration in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. turned violent May 30 as rioters gathered at Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House. Several monuments on the National Mall, including the World War II memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, were vandalized May 30 and the historic St. John’s Church was set on fire May 31.
Clashes occurred between protesters and police June 1 in the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the unrest was “instigated and perpetuated by white men.” The Seattle Police Department withdrew from the East Precinct building June 8, paving the way for demonstrators to declare the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) June 11.
I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 31, 2020
Durkan told CNN host Chris Cuomo in an interview June 11 that the CHAZ had “more like a block party atmosphere” and likened it to the “summer of love.” A resident living in the area told the Daily Caller in an interview June 13 that he heard “gunshots every single night.” Four shootings were reported between June 20 and June 29 with two people killed and four injured.
Mostly peaceful demonstrations in Portland in early June led to escalating civil unrest throughout the month. The Portland Business Alliance estimated that riots and violence in Portland by late June had cost small businesses $23.2 million and the Portland Police Department lost $6.2 million in related costs.
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
Durkan ordered the Capitol Hill neighborhood to be cleared out July 1 and CHAZ was officially brought to an end.
Rioters in Portland reportedly lit fires inside a police union building and swarmed the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in the first week of July as unrest in the city escalated.
Democratic Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler initially told the Trump administration that he did “not need or want their help,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Federal officers arrived anyways in order to protect federal property and engaged with rioters over the next week with tear gas and other riot dispersion tactics.
Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden downplayed the risk of violence and instead turned attention to the Trump administration, stating that federal officers were “acting like an occupying army” in a tweet July 12.
The consequences of Donald Trump unilaterally dispatching fed’l law enforcement into U.S. cities played out in Portland w/a peaceful protester shot in the head. Trump & Homeland Security must now answer why fed’l officers are acting like an occupying army https://t.co/tnLz0nddGw
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 12, 2020
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi referred to federal officers as “stormtroopers” and accused them of “kidnapping protesters” in a tweet July 17. Pelosi also downplayed the riots by claiming that federal involvement was “in response to graffiti.”
Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti.
These are not the actions of a democratic republic.@DHSgov’s actions in Portland undermine its mission.
Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler minimized the violence in Portland and told political commentator Austen Fletcher that antifa violence was a myth in a video released July 27.
Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal minimized the riots during a CNN appearance July 29 where she referred to the riots as “some protesters at some building in Portland.”
Police data compiled by The Oregonian found that 15 people had been killed in Portland in July, with a total of 24 people killed since the demonstrations kicked off in the city in late May and early June.
Hundreds of people rioted and looted stores in Chicago between August 9 and August 10 after a man was reportedly shot by police.
Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot refused federal assistance and said she would not allow “Donald Trump’s troops” to “terrorize our residents.”
More than 100 people were arrested and 13 officers were injured in Chicago during multiple days of rioting. Lightfoot later changed her tune and defended banning protests near her residence, telling reporters she had a right to make sure her “home is secure” during a press conference August 20.
A wave of unrest in Seattle led to six police officers injured and 18 people arrested as demonstrators hurled explosives at law enforcement outside a police building August 18. Rioters reportedly tried to seal off the East Precinct building and light a fire outside August 24, according to the Seattle Police Officers Guild.
The Trump administration negotiated a withdrawal of federal troops in Portland by late August but the violence continued in the city even after federal forces pulled back. 15 riots were declared in the month of August according to the Portland Police Department.
Wheeler repeatedly said “no thanks” to recurring offers from the Trump administration to send federal officers back into Portland, KGW8 reported. The mayor also blamed the president for inciting violence and told him to “stay away” one day before a Trump supporter was shot and killed August 29.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) August 28, 2020
Kenosha experienced riots and fires August 24 after footage emerged of a police officer shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back August 23. A resident cleaning up after the riots called the city a “complete war zone” after businesses were looted and a number of buildings were destroyed.
Seattle continued to see unrest as members of a crowd threw Molotov cocktails at the East Precinct building September 1.
Rioters in Kenosha damaged more than 100 buildings, 40 of which were destroyed, and caused up to $50 million in damage through September 2, according to ABC 7. Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers told Trump not to come to the city and accused him of creating “divisiveness” in a letter.
Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-identified Antifa supporter, was identified as a suspect in the fatal shooting of Trump supporter Aaron Danielson in Portland August 29. He told Vice in an interview set to air September 3 that he “had no choice.” Reinoehl was later killed during a shootout with federal forces that same day.
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