Rioters in Minneapolis during protests against police over the death of George Floyd on Wednesday evening smashed the windows of storefronts housing local charter schools, along with other tenants in a local commercial district.
Floyd, 36, died on Memorial Day in police custody after officers had handcuffed him and were leaning their weight on his body by a patrol car, with one officer kneeling on his neck. As Floyd said, “I can’t breathe,” onlookers asked police to relent. The incident, which was filmed, has drawn national outrage, with President Donald Trump calling Wednesday for an investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Protests in Minneapolis turned violent, as people began looting local stores, stealing property from some and simply smashing others. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that charter schools were among the facilities damaged (emphasis added):
One person was fatally shot in the area where the protest was taking place late Wednesday, possibly by a pawnshop owner who said the person was looting his business.
Firefighters raced from one blaze to the next, often with police in tow for crowd control. After someone started a fire at an AutoZone store at Minnehaha and Lake, firefighters worked to douse the flames, knocking down the majority of them. But within a matter of hours, the store was ablaze again, as was a half-built affordable housing development that caught fire, sending flames more than a hundred feet into the air.
Most of the violence stemmed from a large crowd that gathered outside Minneapolis’ Third Precinct police headquarters, throwing objects at the building and officers and turning more violent as the night wore on. Police deployed rubber bullets, flash bombs and tear gas to push them back.
At the Lake Street Target store, looters were seen leaving with items ranging from large TVs to groceries and diapers. In the adjacent strip mall anchored by Cub Foods, no business was spared. Rioters gripping baseball bats and gulf clubs bashed out every window of nearby storefronts, including those housing charter school programs.
Charter schools, which are publicly-funded schools that operate independently, are often popular within minority communities, as they represent the potential for escape from failing public school systems, which are typically controlled by politically powerful teachers’ unions.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.