Story at a glance
- Mayor Muriel Bowser called the action of protesters “highly inappropriate.”
- The demonstrators were marching in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
After a video showing what appears to be protesters accosting a restaurant patron in Washington, D.C., went viral Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) is now condemning the demonstrators’ actions.
Washington Post reporter Fenit Nirappil tweeted Bowser’s comments during a press conference on Wednesday. The mayor reportedly questioned the motivations behind the confrontation.
Bowser on the viral video showing protesters shouting at a diner: "What I saw in those videos was highly inappropriate, it was likely against the law if they were on private property but more importantly, I don't think it had anything to do with demands for social justice."— Fenit Nirappil (@FenitN) August 26, 2020
Several videos showing protesters confronting and harassing people eating outside restaurants in the District went viral on Tuesday as demonstrations were held nationwide over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. In one video, a crowd of people surrounded a restaurant patron after demanding other diners show their solidarity by raising their fists. When the woman did not, protesters began confronting her, chanting “no justice, no peace,” and “white silence is violence.”
The event was chronicled by reporter Frederick Kunkle in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington.
1) In a scene that played out several times Monday, a Black Lives Matter protest that began in Columbia Heights confronted White diners outside D.C. restaurants, chanting “White silence is violence!” and demanding White diners show their solidarity. #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/fJbPM76vb0— Fredrick Kunkle WaPo (@KunkleFredrick) August 25, 2020
In response, Bowser said she also “would encourage any diner or restaurant to call the police immediately” if incidents like those in the video happen.
"I would venture to say that the vast majority of those experiences have been 100 percent positive," Bowser said about D.C. dining experiences. "I also don't think that D.C. residents would be bullied out of living their everyday lives."
The woman who was at the center of the protester’s frustration, Lauren B. Victor, told Kunkle that she had been marching alongside Black Lives Matter protests for weeks, but that she did not feel right about being coerced to show support by Tuesday’s demonstrators.
“In the moment, it didn’t feel right,” Victor said.
Victor also, however, added that she could sympathize with their anger.
“I wasn’t actually frightened. I didn’t think they’d do anything to me,” she said. “I’m very much with them. I’ve been marching with them for weeks and weeks and weeks.”
Renewed civil rights protests have erupted across the nation in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in Kenosha, Wis., Police shot Blake multiple times in the back and in view of his children. Blake is in the hospital and paralyzed from the waist down,
Police were at the scene responding to a report of a domestic incident. Witnesses say Blake was trying to break up the fight when police arrived at the scene.