George Floyd killed by ‘systemic racism’, Minneapolis curfew extended to stop out-of-town rioters: Minn. leaders
Minnesota’s governor and the mayors of the Twin Cities pledged their support to fight against the “systemic racism” that they said led to the death of George Floyd after another night of violent rioting in Minneapolis and other metropolitan areas around the country.
Gov. Tim Walz thanked those who obeyed the nighttime curfew to give law enforcement the space to restore order without further loss of life, saying, “the gift they have given us, is that the sun came up this morning to open up the space for the real conversation. A real understanding that George Floyd was dead and the conditions here, in Minnesota, contributed to that.”
“It does fall to myself, other elected leaders, community leaders and others that if we do not get to that systemic problem, eventually this will get us back to a point that led to our communities on fire, our security and safety in question and a searching of who we are,” Waltz said.
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The city’s curfew was extended from 8 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday, and several freeways were to remain closed to all but emergency responders and law enforcement to keep protesters from coming into the Minneapolis metropolitan area from out of town.
“Law enforcement made several arrests and seized weapons, narcotics, long guns, handguns, magazines and knives,” Walz said.”We have reason to believe that bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests of George Floyd’s murder, which is why we are extending the curfew by one day.”
St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Melvin Carter said he was not encouraging people to be patient or passive in their fight for justice, but urged the public to channel what he called their “nuclear energy” into not destroying neighborhoods.
“[But] to destroy the historic culture, to destroy the systemic racism, to destroy, in specifics where this is concerned, the laws, legal precedents, police union contracts, all of the things that make it so difficult to hold someone accountable when a life, like George Floyd’s, is so wrongfully taken,” he continued.
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“We can either channel this energy into destroying our own communities, toward burning and looting our barbershops, our restaurants, our family-owned businesses. The lives and livelihoods that have gone into all those institutions. Or we can take this energy and channel it into building a better future,” Carter said.
“We know that right now is a moment of deep soul searching for our community and for our nation. Right now we ought to be focused on the fact that George Floyd ought to still be alive today,” he continued. “We ought to be focused on the fact that when someone takes one of our lives in such dramatic and gruesome fashion, especially when it’s as well documented as George Floyd’s murder was, that we ought to have some ability to be confident, to be sure that the people will be held responsible.
“Not just one — but the four people who were responsible for his death, in a democracy as great as ours, that the four people responsible for his death will of course be held to account,” Carter said.
After recent speculation over whether rioters were Minneapolis locals or were part of an organized group who had come from out of town in incite violence, Carter said: “The one thing that’s absolutely clear to me is that those folks who would seek to act in a way that during a pandemic, would deprive our senior citizens of the local pharmacy they need to go to to get their life-saving medicine, who in the midst of a food shortage, would deprive our families of the grocery stores they need to go to to feed their children…
“Who would deprive, in the middle of one of the worst economic crises in our country’s history, our workers from the opportunity to go to work and to earn a living and to participate in our economy, the one thing that is clear to me is that those folks are not driven, those actions are not driven by a sense of deep drive for the betterment of our community,” the mayor said.
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“Today we’re asking our community for peace, but I want to be very clear we’re not asking you for patience. And we are not asking you for pacifism,” Carter continued. “I am not asking you to sit to the side and patiently wait as we slowly and incrementally stem the bloody tide of African-American men killed by law enforcement.”
Waltz said Minnesota for years has been ranked among the best U.S. states to live in — unless you are black.
“All those statistics, if you peel it back, are true if you’re white. If you’re not, we rank near the bottom. Which this week has shown all of us that those two things can’t operate at the same place. You cannot continue to say, Minnesota is a great place to live if your neighbor, because of the color of their skin, does not have that same opportunity,” the governor said.
He also commended Lt. Gov. Flanagan, who recently spoke on race issues “in her elegant words as an indigenous woman who understands what that means,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was “on the streets begging people to come home,” and rapper and music mogul Jay-Z, who called the governor last night “not as an international performer, but a dad stressing to me that justice needs to be served,” for trusting him to listen to what they were saying and work toward change.
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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the city was “sandwiched” between two realities: the thousands seen yesterday in a peaceful rally with members of the Native American community, singing and dancing in protest, and the people who woke up Sunday morning and came out of their homes to help clean up businesses destroyed by rioting.
“We are going to keep working to strive to make sure the Twin Cities can be better,” he said. “We have a long way to go.”