MINNEAPOLIS — As protests over the death of George Floyd grip the nation, with some demonstrations devolving into violent clashes with police, the FBI has called on the public to turn in individuals who are “actively instigating violence during First Amendment protected peaceful demonstrations.”
The protests began after the May 25 death of Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer who is now charged with murder, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Some of the peaceful protests in response to police brutality have led to groups of looters showing up to the demonstrations to target various businesses.
But as protests rage across the country, many have criticized local law enforcement for their tactics against demonstrators as videos continue to surface on social media depicting officers dousing crowds with pepper spray, striking protesters with batons and firing rubber projectiles.
U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, who was hit by pepper spray Saturday as scuffles broke out near the end of a demonstration in Columbus, Ohio, said police escalated matters by using heavy-handed tactics against “passionate” young demonstrators who were mostly orderly.
“Too much force is not the answer to this,” said Beatty, who pressed for peaceful tactics on both sides in a video posted on Twitter by Columbus City Council president Shannon Hardin, who also was pepper-sprayed. Both are African American.