Story at a glance
- A new fund has raised $3 million for refurbishing Minneapolis businesses that sustained damage during recent looting.
- Leadership in the Twin Cities denounce robberies but support the Black Lives Matter movement.
More than $3 million in donations have been raised to help resuscitate Minneapolis businesses damaged by the looting that trailed protests over police brutality in Minnesota.
The demonstrations and protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who died while being arrested by Minneapolis police on May 25. The case gained traction when a video captured one officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, all while Floyd cried out for air.
Floyd was pronounced dead later that day. An autopsy commissioned by his family revealed his cause of death as asphyxiation.
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While Chauvin was terminated from the police force and charged with one count of third-degree murder and one count of manslaughter, Floyd’s death is just one of three recent high-profile slayings of black Americans, preceded by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
Civil rights activists and the Black Lives Matter movement have been quick to shed light on police use of excessive force against black people, as well as the institutional inequalities inherent in U.S. law enforcement that are rooted in racism.
As activists and allies protested from Charleston, S.C., to Los Angeles, looters have been quick to take the opportunity to cause destruction and burglarize nearby businesses, fueling police clashes with protestors and undermining the message protestors hope to impart.
To help rectify the damage caused by looters, a nonprofit effort called We Love Lake Street has the goal of helping impacted businesses reopen.
A project of the Lake Street Council nonprofit organization, the effort “will donate 100% of funds to help rebuild Lake Street, starting with direct support to small businesses and nonprofits to help them rebuild their storefronts, reopen their businesses and serve our neighborhoods,” the website’s homepage reads.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that so far, the fund has earned more than $3 million from more than 38,000 donors since the riots began.
Speaking to local outlet CBS4 WCCO, Allison Sharkey, the executive director of the Lake Street Council, said that she was surprised at the volume of donations.
“We’ve been shocked, right away the contributions began coming in from all over the country,” Sharkey said.
Minneapolis officials have condemned the destruction of local businesses, but not the protests. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter (D) confirmed that many of the looters were coming into the Twin Cities from outside the community, although exact numbers are unclear.
Carter expressed disappointment that robberies may take attention away from protesters' legitimate concerns.
“I'm not asking people to sit back and patiently wait while we slowly and incrementally slow the bloody tide of unarmed black men who die at the hands of law enforcement,” he told MSNBC.
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