The death of George Floyd while in police custody after being pinned to the ground by a police officer was horrible and morally wrong. Few people who have watched the video of his arrest would argue against that. The four officers involved deserved to be fired and arguably deserve to be charged with homicide for their actions.
But you know what else is horrible and morally wrong? Destroying innocent people’s property.
That is exactly what protesters have done over the past two days in Minneapolis. Understandably angry about Floyd’s death, people not so understandably burned a nearly completed apartment building to the ground, looted a pawn shop and a Foot Locker store, destroyed and looted a recently renovated Target store, and damaged numerous other commercial buildings.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard, saying: “Unfortunately, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and damaging public and private property. These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators and other Minnesotans, and both first responders and demonstrators have already been injured.”
Every individual who damaged or stole property during these riots should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. People have every right to protest peacefully against police brutality, but they do not have the right to damage or steal the property of innocent people. These acts of destruction are senseless because they are being committed against people who have absolutely nothing to do with Floyd’s death.
My question to the rioters is: what did the partially completed apartment building do wrong to deserve your wrath? What did the Target do to you? How about the pawn shop, or the sneaker store?
These buildings did nothing wrong, nor did the people and/or companies who own them. Protests should be directed against the people and institutions who actually did something wrong, not against innocent people and their property.