Nationwide protests, looting and rampant crimes continue in the United States over the past week. In different cities, people have massed to condemn police violence and institutional racism after the death of George Floyd when a police officer knelt on his neck while he’s handcuffed. The incident has revived concerns regarding police brutality. According to experts, the force used by the police was too much and unnecessary. They stated that Floyd was not fighting and was actually under control.
Cruelty and assault against black people has a long history in the United states, beginning with slavery and up to lynching or manslaughter. According to recent statistics, black individuals are more likely to be imprisoned compared to white individuals. Approximately a third of people in prison in the United States are black although they just make up 13% of the American population.
Generally, police leaders acknowledge that just a small fraction of protesters are looting. However, it is still certainly widespread. A group of individuals were reported to have cleaned out different stores across Manhattan, while there are some looters who damaged luxury stores and boutiques in Los Angeles.
Aside from huge chain stores like Walgreen, Target and Macy’s, even independent businesses in downtown sections and neighborhoods were also targets of looters and vandals.
Since the start of COVID-19, local and state government ordered many businesses to close to help prevent the spread of the virus. This left store owners with small or no income since March and with all the looting and vandalism, they should assess how to relocate or rebuild their businesses.
Looting as a Sign of Protest?
Protesters have been criticized as “opportunistic” rampage and looting happening in different cities in the United States, stating that it is not being done because of the death of Floyd. Some argued that these ‘protesters’ who chose to loot and wreak havoc have different driving forces as to why they do it – political activism, blind anger or greed, especially for looting.
Riots are usually triggered by various events but though some may just cause mass gatherings and quiet protests, others turn in unpredictable, rowdy ways.
How authorities handled the situation?
Mayors and governors have usually tried to alleviate the situation. For instance, the Mayor of Atlanta made a speech, which condemns both Floyd’s death and the rioters and looters. She asserted that what’s happening is not a protest, but chaos.
Though different law enforcement agencies are trying their best to control the disorder and violence and the National Guard has been deployed, protests across the United States still continue as of this writing.