George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died on Monday after being pinned down by a police officer.
As the police began to classify the protest as "unruly" they began turning to force, using measures like tear gas, shooting rubber bullets, and stun grenades.
The scene at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. https://t.co/ykxsfPn8PD— Carlos Gonzalez (@Carlos Gonzalez)1590543154.0
#BREAKING MORE VIDEO : Police are using chemical-tear gas and stun grenades as major protests continue in… https://t.co/AUJ4P3MPFW— FLOYD RIOT UPDATES (@FLOYD RIOT UPDATES)1590543973.0
Tear gas and rubber bullets in Minneapolis, @UR_Ninja filming outside the third precinct. I lost count of the numbe… https://t.co/FgkwfiCLpc— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1590542353.0
It is a crazed use of force that has been seen in several protests for lost lives of unarmed black men before but still seems out of place when given the context of recent protests in America — in particular, people are pointing to recent coronavirus protests in America where the protests themselves were on a completely different level then the non-violent protests in Minneapolis.
There was no tear gas, no stun grenades, no rubber bullets in Sacramento earlier this month. No use of force was us… https://t.co/WEZdJ5Xlhz— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1590552481.0
In some of these protests, white Americans stormed capital buildings with automatic rifles.
Michigan Now Has The Highest Mortality Rates From Coronavirus In America While Protests Still Continue… https://t.co/YOYCNEmhjb— BallerAlert (@BallerAlert)1588551664.0
However, the stark difference in outcome is that these protests didn't end with police in riot gear shooting rubber bullets or tear gas into the crowd.
So, why is it that non-violent protests over the death of unarmed black people end up with police using brute force when other protests where people literally have assault rifles are quelled with simpler, saner methods?
Non-violent protesters in Minneapolis: rubber bullets Protesters with an AK-47 & confederate flags: nothing— Andy Slavitt @ 🏡 (@Andy Slavitt @ 🏡)1590549822.0
In its history, Black Lives Matter protests have seen an enormous amount of force used against them. Shouldn't that same force be used when someone shows up to a capital building armed with a rifle?
It's an interesting dichotomy given the race of people involved in the protests. While it is certainly not black and white, a majority of protesters in Minneapolis were people of color and a majority of armed coronavirus protesters were white people.
There are more protests being planned in the wake of the death of George Floyd and these will likely bring an even stricter use of force from police officers in retaliation.
The image that is left after the dust settles on the protests will be one of police officers using extreme force against protesters who can't fire back, but not against those who are truly armed and dangerous.