Andrea Jenkins, vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, is rebuking the violent rioters who have looted, burned down, and destroyed businesses all around the metropolis in response to the unjust killing of George Floyd, who died Monday after a police officer kneeling on the unarmed black man’s neck refused to move for nearly 10 minutes, choking him to death.
Christian and political leaders all across the U.S., including President Donald Trump’s administration, have condemned the serious miscarriage of justice, calling for a swift federal investigation into Floyd’s death.
But overnight, as anger boiled, widespread chaos broke out across Minnesota. The destruction has continued into Thursday afternoon.
Jenkins responded to the ongoing destruction Thursday.
“I want to remind all the people that are in the streets that are protesting: you have every absolute right to be angry, to be upset, to be mad, to express your anger,” she said. “However, you have no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for.”
“We need peace and calm in our streets, and I am begging you for that calm,” the city official pleaded.
At the start of her comments, Jenkins sang a line from the hymn “Amazing Grace” before describing the racism that catalyzed Floyd’s killing as a “virus” that needs to be defeated.
“So I am asking my colleagues, the mayor, and anyone else who is concerned with the state of affairs in our community, to declare a state of emergency declaring racism as a public health issue,” she said. “Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never, ever resolve this issue.”
Floyd, who reportedly died over a counterfeit $20 bill, passed away after a police officer kneeling on his neck refused to move, despite the man pleading: “Please, I can’t breathe.”
“My stomach hurts, my neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd continued, trying to speak despite the intense pressure on his neck. “[I need] water or something. Please. Please, I can’t breathe officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”
Onlookers begged the officer to let Floyd, who was not resisting arrest, breathe.
“He’s not resisting arrest or nothing,” one man said. “You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language — you bum! You know that’s bogus right now!”
Another nearby woman could be heard pleading with the officer, asking him to check the then-unresponsive Floyd’s pulse. By the time the ambulance arrived, Floyd had died.