Minneapolis, where George Floyd was brutally killed by a former city police officer on May 25, has been ground zero for the protests breaking out across America. In recent days, the protests have been characterized by looting and violence. But now, top Minnesota officials are sharing information on who has allegedly been behind the violent activities, and — it turns out — it’s white nationalists.
During a press conference on Saturday morning (May 30), Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison took the stage together to share new information about the protests, and specifically the looting and violence that accompanied them.
"The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents," Mayor Frey said. "They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades."
Ellison cited a now-viral video of a white man in a gas mask holding an umbrella who was caught by protesters breaking windows of a local AutoZone. Some believe the man to be an undercover cop, though that detail has not yet been verified.
Mayor Carter says every single person arrested during the protests in Minneapolis on Friday night was from out of state and that while "there's a group of folks that are sad and mourning" about Floyd, he says, "there seems to be another group that are using Mr. Floyd's death as a cover to create havoc."
Additionally, MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted that white nationalist groups are posting messages promoting that they use the protests to “get our loot on” and cause mayhem. Mayor Carter says the state’s top officials discovered that the white nationalist mayhem starters are throwing incendiary devices and then running behind actual protesters to “use them as a human shield.”
Vice reports that numerous militia, anti-government and white supremacist groups have shown up to protests across America. The latter group is allegedly hoping to use the tensions between them, law enforcement and police violence protesters as the spark of a race war.
Known as hardcore “accelerationists,” they’re reportedly encouraging their neo-Nazi followers to go to the protests and carry out acts of violence against Black people with the goal of “exacerbating the ethnic tensions.”
According to Vice, “accelerationists” promote violence to speed up the collapse of society. On Thursday (May 28), an eco-fascist Telegram channel wrote to its 2,500 subscribers that “a riot would be the perfect place to commit a murder.”
Accelerationists often attempt to exploit moments of political or civil unrest, which well describe the protests currently breaking out across the U.S. Similarly, 4chan is full of racists cheering the violence.
Derek Chauvin, the fired police officer who pinned Floyd down with his knee for nine minutes, causing his death, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. His bond has been set at $500,000 and his wife has reportedly filed for divorce.
The other three officers seen in the video of the fatal encounter Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were all fired but have yet to be charged.
From Los Angeles and Atlanta to New York and Detroit, demonstrators have taken to the streets to express their frustration over the lack of police accountability and calling for reforms.
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death by police and the subsequent aftermath. For our continuing coverage of the protests nationwide, click here.