Viral tweet shows the police and the National Guard throwing paint rounds at citizens standing on their front porches
Over the weekend, protests emerged in major cities all across the country as Americans marched in solidarity with George Floyd to protest his death and bring awareness to racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S. However, as police escalated the violence and agitators turned the peaceful protests into scenes of looting and rioting, state leaders decided to call in the National Guard. Whether the National Guard actually helped to escalate or de-escalate the sitations remain to be seen, because as one now-viral Twitter video shows, the National Guard ran down a quiet residential street in Minneapolis, Minnesota and threw paint rounds at bystanders who stood calmly on their front porches.
“Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling ‘light em up,'” Tanya Kerssen shared on Twitter alongside the video of the incident.
Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling “light em up” #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/bW48imyt55
— Tanya Kerssen (@tkerssen) May 31, 2020
This took place in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota not far from where Floyd was murdered by ex-officer Derek Chauvin. Many people on Twitter argued that the bystanders had every reason to be attacked because they weren’t following the curfews that were enacted in many cities last night. However, according to the Minneapolis curfew order, the curfew doesn’t take place until 8 p.m. (the video was posted at 7:37 p.m.) and the curfew specificially prohibits “travel on public streets or in any public place,” and these individuals were standing on their own porches.
A journalist who was covering the protests in Minneapolis was hit by one of those paint cannisters and it was so bad, she needed surgery and now may lose her eye.
Hey folks, took a tracer found to the face (I think, given my backpack) and am headed into surgery to see if we can save my left eye
Am wisely not gonna be on Twitter while I’m on morphine
Stay safe folks pic.twitter.com/apZOyGrcBO
— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) May 30, 2020
“It was police who shot me, not protesters,” she tweeted after the fact. “It was protesters who got me to the hospital, who gave me medical supplies and acted as my eyes when I couldn’t see past the blood and swelling.”
Several cities including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Atlanta have all requested National Guard support to handle the rioting emerging out of the peaceful protests, however, one Minnesota Guard member spoke to The Nation on the condition of anonymity and said that the Guard isn’t trained to quell civil unrest. “We’re a combat unit not trained for riot control or safely handling civilians in this context. Soldiers up and down the ranks are scared about hurting someone, and leaders are worried about soldiers’ suffering liability,” he stated.
When you hear that a city has called in the National Guard, it’s important to think critically about whether or not that militant presence is helping or hurting a community.