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Protests in Minneapolis: No fair play for blacks in the USA

"You have every right to be angry," Jacob Frey admitted to the protesters who had just set a police station on fire in Minneapolis. "But you do not have the right to harm the very people you say you stand up for." What was meant were the residents of the district, who can no longer shop in shops that are only charred ruins.

Friday night was the third in a row that Minneapolis did not rest. The first was relatively peaceful, although the police occasionally used tear gas and rubber bullets. On the second night, rioters set fire to buildings and looted shops. A police station was on fire in the third. In the evening, Frey had instructed them to be evacuated. Bricks can be replaced, but not people. He was then sharply attacked by the president.

Against "gangsters"

The man is weak, tweeted Donald Trump about the mayor, whom he assigned to the "radical left", as he has routinely done recently with politicians from the Democratic Party. "When the looting begins, the shooting begins," he wrote and announced tough crackdowns against "gangsters". If Frey doesn't get the situation under control, he, the President, will put the National Guard on the march to ensure that they do the job properly.

Twitter promptly provided the request to speak with a warning. The tweet violates the rules on the glorification of violence.

... until he stopped moving

The controversy shows that there is more to it than the death of George Floyd. The 46-year-old African American worked, among other things, as a bouncer for a nightclub. On Monday he was arrested by a four-man police patrol for allegedly trying to pay with a fake $ 20 bill.

Already in handcuffs, he lay on the asphalt while one of the uniformed men, a white man, pressed his knee against his neck for minutes until he stopped moving. A passer-by filmed the scene with her mobile phone camera, you can clearly hear Floyd moaning over and over: "Please, I can't breathe!" Shortly afterwards he died in a hospital.

"Knee to collective neck"

The US has long been debating more than one incredibly brutal police operation. Frey described the riots that followed the murder as the result of an anger and sadness that runs very deep in blacks, "not just because of the five minutes of horror, but because of 400 years". It was then that the first slaves were abducted from Africa.

With his objection, the town hall chief indicated that the country was still suffering from the racist legacy, a century and a half after the end of slavery. Andrea Jenkins, a black writer on the Minneapolis City Council, puts it even more clearly: "For us, the act felt like a knee on our collective neck." This knee signals that the life of blacks does not matter from the point of view of the institutions "that dictate what happens in our culture and our society".

Double standards

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, writes bitterly in the New York Times about the return to normality after the coronavirus outbreak. "It is normal for police officers to kill an unarmed black man in their custody." And anyone who rebelled against it would immediately be confronted with tear gas, even if several officials claimed they sympathized with the demonstrators - a double standard.

In August 2014, it was Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, who was shot dead by a white police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson. Wilson said he had acted in self-defense, whereupon a jury decided not to bring charges. That same summer, Eric Garner, suffering from asthma, suffocated in New York in the stranglehold of officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo was never charged for this either.

Police arrested after hesitation

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who killed Floyd, wasn't arrested until Friday after three days of protests. He is charged with murder. At first, like the three colleagues on his patrol, he was merely suspended from duty. There is other evidence and it does not support criminal proceedings, the prosecutor in charge said on Thursday - before his office followed suit that it was only meant that all evidence had to be examined. Immediately it was stirred up again, the age-old suspicion that blacks should not expect fair play from the institutions.

For millions of Americans in 2020 it will still be "painful and maddening" normal "to be treated differently because of their skin color," said former US President Barack Obama on Friday on Twitter. That is the case when dealing with the health system, with the judiciary or even when jogging or watching birds. "That must not be 'normal' in America in 2020."

The extent of the rioting in Minneapolis is also abnormal. Now the mayor of the US city has been forced to issue a curfew. Mayor Jacob Frey's proclamation stated that the curfew would apply during the night on Saturday and Sunday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew was justified with possible further unrest. (Frank Herrmann, red, May 29, 2020)

Update: The article was updated to include the arrest and indictment of Chauvin and the curfew. Obama's statement was also added later.