As usual, the same folks – Trump supporters in particular – who stayed silent in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer, are channeling most of their anger at so-called looters instead of America’s demonstrably unequal criminal justice system.
It turns out, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, white supremacist organizations could be behind the looting and destruction of local businesses.
“We have seen things like white supremacist organizers who have posted things on platforms about coming to Minnesota,” Harrington said during a press conference on Saturday.
He added, “We have seen flyers about protests where folks have talked about … going to get their loot on tonight, and we’re checking to see, are they part of an organized criminal organization?”
Harrington said authorities are looking into whether the arrests they have made over the past few days are tied to these white supremacist organizations.
As we begun making arrests, we have begun analyzing the data of who we have arrested and begun actually doing what you would think is almost very similar to our COVID. It’s contact tracing. Who are they associated with? Who — what platforms are they advocating for? And we have seen things like white supremacist organizers who have posted things on platforms about coming to Minnesota. We are checking to see, do the folks that we have made arrests on and that we have information, are they connected to those platforms. We have seen flyers about protests where folks have talked about they’re going to get their loot on tonight, and we’re checking to see, are they part of an organized criminal organization? And if so, what is that organization and how is that — how are they organized? We have been working with both our state, our county, our local and our federal partners to start looking at issues around, is this organized crime? Is this an organized cell of terror? Where are the — where do these folks — where’s the linkage is what we’re doing and so we are in the process right now of building that information network, building that intel effort so that we can link these folks together, figure out what the organizations that have created this and then understand how do we go after them – legally?
The governor of Minnesota also said on Saturday that most of the people arrested on Friday night were from out of state.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey added, “I want to be very, very clear: The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents.”
The vast majority of the protests unfolding in Minneapolis and all across the country have been peaceful. The demonstrators are simply voicing their anger about systemic racism in America’s criminal justice system.
Instead of acknowledging that hard truth and working to bridge these divides, the president and his supporters are hoping to make bad actors – the folks who are damaging local businesses – the main story.
You need not look any further than the Twitter feed of Donald Trump and his eldest son to see that they couldn’t care less about George Floyd’s murder, but they seem to absolutely love talking about businesses that are burned and looted.
In other words, the outbursts of violence at some of the protest sites is looking increasingly like an organized effort to tarnish the message of the peaceful protesters.
The president and his followers are jumping on the opportunity to make property destruction – not systemic racism – the main focus of attention.
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Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.
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