Black Americans Speak Out on George Floyd and the Riots

George Floyd was killed by excessive force by a police officer in Minneapolis.  Across the board, Americans were outraged.  Peaceful protests arose, but with the protests came forces that initiated violence by killing innocents and police, burning buildings, destroying property, and stealing.  American Thinker interviewed black Americans for their feelings of what is happening in this country today. The black Americans are all in agreement that they are horrified by what happened to George Floyd, but they are equally horrified by the violence and lack of law and order.

These black Americans feel dismayed by what happened.  They recognize that there is legitimate anger over the tactics used by the Minneapolis police.

Stacy Washington is the co-chairperson of Project 21, founded after the 1992 Los Angeles riots to highlight black Americans' political diversity.  She differentiates between a protester, someone who exercises his right under the 1st Amendment, and rioters who break the law.  Kathy Barnette, who is running in the general election for Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District, saw "the heart of a nation rise up in defense of George Floyd.  No one tried to defend the indefensible acts of these officers.  I was even more excited to see President Trump immediately have the Justice Department investigate and not sweep what happened under the rug."

All interviewed want to emphasize that it is inexcusable for many of the cities to have abdicated the rule of law.  There are those who claim that the riots and destruction of property are understandable and excusable since it is not a life being destroyed.  Stacy responds, "Property is a life.  I agree buildings are not alive, but what happens inside of buildings enables people to live.  It is their livelihood.  Studies show there is a direct link between increases with poverty and suicide/homicide.  People turn to crime when they are not able to be employed.  In Ferguson, Missouri, after the riots, M1 Bank literally created investment vehicles.  The neighborhood became integrated, and young couples, both black and white, could afford a house.  Now things are getting burned down again.  I am not sure the neighborhoods will be rebuilt."

Chris Arps, a Project 21 member, agrees with this Martin Luther King quote: "I feel that non-violence is really the only way that we can follow because violence is just so self-defeating.  A riot ends up creating many more problems for the negro community than it solved.  You can, through violence, burn down a building, but you can't establish justice.  You can murder a murderer, but you can't murder through violence.  You can murder a hater, but you can't murder hate."

Chris explains, "One of the main reasons the movement was so successful is that Martin Luther King understood non-violence creates goodwill.  These rioter thugs are hurting black communities.  I saw a video of a black businessman during the Rodney King riots.  The man was angry and yelling at the rioters that they burned down his business. This is happening again today."

Unfortunately, police and innocents are being killed and injured.  Chris points out how David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired St. Louis, Missouri police captain, was shot and killed by looters who broke into a pawn shop where he was working security.  He was murdered in cold blood.  "This is personal to me because he was the father-in-law of one of my good friends.  I think those who are protesting peacefully would not want to be associated with these thugs."

Kathy tells of a black retired firefighter who invested all his money into a business that was completely demolished.  They lost everything and did not have riot insurance.  "When you pick up bricks or burn a building, you are no longer protesting peacefully.  You have the right to be angry, but you do not have the right to loot, steal, or viciously beat someone who is trying to defend their store.  We are a nation of law and order."

Attorney General Barr has said that Antifa, other extremist groups, and foreign actors have hijacked the protests.  In her book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, Kathy writes about Antifa, the definition of a domestic terrorist group:

The so-called anti-fascist group we call Antifa likes to think of themselves as the protectors of free speech, even while they shut down the free expression of those they self-righteously deem unworthy to speak.  Both Black Lives Matter and Antifa are similar in that they fancy themselves as the liberators of those who have been oppressed by the evil white and privileged class while they, themselves, forcibly suppress any opposition to their own views.  Members of the Antifa movement wear black masks to cover up their shameful, illegal, and dastardly acts.  Ku Klux Klansmen wore white hoods to hide their reprehensible deeds.  Both groups have used terror to achieve their goal of controlling the thoughts and actions of those around them.  Antifa members assault citizens for simply disagreeing with their views.  What difference does it make when one is afraid to walk down their own street or to speak an opinion that may have been deemed "unpopular" for fear of getting hit across the head with a bike lock, or getting a face full of cement-laced mace, or having their business burned down to the ground?

Her point is that these extremists co-opted black Americans for their own agenda.  "The goal is to make America ungovernable.  Instead of this vengeance, we should have hope and opportunity.  I grew up below the bottom line of the economic ladder on a pig farm in Alabama.  My home had no insulation, no running water, a well on the side, and an outhouse in the back.  I know what it feels to have the odds work against you.  Yet today I am a veteran, talk show host, successful writer, a professor of corporate finance, and someone able to run for Congress."

Those interviewed do not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk with suggestions and solutions.  Chris believes that the protests should be done only during the day.  "Once nightfall comes, it is very hard to distinguish between the rioters and the protesters.  When local officials set up curfews, the protesters still out there lose legitimacy once they are told to go home by the authorities.  Project 21 has come up with a Blueprint that has 57 policy ideas to remove barriers blocking blacks from reaching their full potential.  Last year, members, including myself, met with the mayor and city council members of Ferguson, Missouri to implement these policies.  They are considering it, while the officials in Baltimore rejected it.  I am hoping that all cities get rid of choke holds and knees on necks so that people will not be killed while in police custody."

Stacy agrees and is hoping "to have the National Guard and local law enforcement crush this insurrection.  The police must implement the least use of force.  If handcuffs could be used, then that should be used because it is less invasive than a choke hold.  In Minneapolis, there were four police that were using too much force.  It was not needed because there were four of them who had handcuffed and had George Floyd on the ground."

Kathy agrees: "If the black community wants better, they will have to vote not based on a party, but on the person.  I have seen those in the black community having a very hard time getting over the fact that being black means voting Democratic.  Just think of the recent Joe Biden quote: 'you ain't black' if you support President Trump's re-election.  We have been Democrats' most loyal constituents for the past fifty years.  What exactly have we received for that loyalty?  What we have is some of the worst conditions."

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the Civil Rights Commission and a successful political thriller writer, wants "a proper training of the police.  The individuals selected who go to the Police Academy and those that graduate should be psychologically profiled, supervisors should be assessing if the cadets have the right character/demeanor, and they should see if the cadets can handle stressful situations.  I also think the police review boards and the police unions have too much clout that enable bad police to stay in their position.  Think about it.  It is extraordinary and unforgiveable that this policeman had no charges brought against him even though there were eighteen complaints."

Each summarized his feelings.  Stacy says there should not be property set on fire and destroyed when inexcusable things happen.  "We go to city council meetings, but we don't loot and beat up people.  We prosecute the bad police and respect law and order."  Chris sees the majority of people peacefully protesting.  "But those that are killing or injuring innocents and police, burning down and destroying buildings are nothing more than thugs."  Kathy, who has a black son, feels that "it is important to make sure we have a justice system that is blind and fair.  I would have been out there with the protesters, but today the riots have little to do with memorializing George Floyd."  Peter reminds people, "The First Amendment allows for peaceful assembly with the key word 'peaceful.'  No one has the right to be deprived of property and life.  There should be severe consequences for those rioters."

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

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