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As businesses are looted and buildings burn in the city of Minneapolis over outrage following the death of George Floyd, an anchor for NBC’s morning show is advising reporters to refrain from using the word “riot” to describe the mayhem.
Rather, says Craig Melvin — who also serves as a host on MSNBC — it is “most accurate” to say that it’s all just a “protest.”
“This will guide our reporting in MN. ‘While the situation on the ground in Minneapolis is fluid, and there has been violence, it is most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as ‘protests’–not riots,’” he wrote on Twitter, apparently echoing a directive from NBC bosses.
This will guide our reporting in MN. “While the situation on the ground in Minneapolis is fluid, and there has been violence, it is most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as "protests"–not riots.”
— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) May 28, 2020
MSNBC’s Ali Velshi got the memo as well, and was roundly mocked for it.
The “this is fine” meme has come to life.
MSNBC reporter in Minneapolis: “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not generally speaking unruly."pic.twitter.com/SLUSXqg2R4
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 29, 2020
The vandalizing of businesses, cars, and other private property, as well as looting and attacks, erupted in parts of the city following the publication of a disturbing video showing a city police officer pinning Floyd down to the pavement for several minutes with a knee.
Floyd, 46, was reportedly picked up on a charge of forgery, and according to currently available video, he does not appear to have resisted arrest. It’s unclear as to why the officer pinned him to the pavement for so long even as he tried several times to tell police he couldn’t breathe.
The incident quickly sparked protests, certainly but also acts that can only be realistically described as rioting, as scenes from the city posted to social media indicate.
**LANGUAGE WARNING: Raw Video**
You consider this just a protest?https://t.co/c9SPseabEH
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 28, 2020
This is awful out here. No police. Looting continues pic.twitter.com/087TpNWhPV
— Karen Scullin FOX9 (@kscullinfox9) May 27, 2020
The 3rd precinct is being destroyed pic.twitter.com/ZuvhSJu8sW
— Karen Scullin FOX9 (@kscullinfox9) May 27, 2020
Video shows Target near Minneapolis' 3rd police precinct left with barren shelves after reportedly being hit by looters.
This occurred during protests over George Floyd's death in police custody.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 28, 2020
It melted the stop sign. pic.twitter.com/ffjpd9oi4u
— Max Nesterak (@maxnesterak) May 28, 2020
Four officers involved in the Floyd arrest and incident have been fired from the department, but as of Friday morning, none had been charged with any criminal action.
Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued an urgent appeal to city residents to end the burning, looting, and attacks.
“If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right. It’s a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived. While not from lived experience, that sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities,” he said.
“We will be working with community. We need to be working with community to sort through those set-of-action steps. Time where we picked up the rubble — a time where we picked up the rubble, the glass, and found peace in our hearts. Not an ignorant peace, but an awakened one, where we can truly make change possible,” he added.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, had a different message.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” he tweeted early Friday. “A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”
He added: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let this happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you.”
Local business owners were aghast at the level of damage caused by rioters.
“Dozens of businesses were either looted or torched, or both, mostly in the area of Minnehaha Avenue and E. Lake Street, but also along business corridors on the city’s North and South sides,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
“I’ve been out here all night. We’ve already been struggling for a couple of months with everything happening with the virus. This is, uh, this is crazy right now. I have no idea what’s going to happen,” the owner of Sonora Grille, whose business was left untouched, told local station KARE.
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