President Joe Biden’s reluctance to condemn street violence last summer left many with an impression that he was soft on crime, but he is seeking to dispel that impression as Minneapolis unravels into chaos once again, this time on his watch.
Biden chastised those turning violent in the city in response to the police-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, saying there is “no justification” for riots and looting, Breitbart reported.
“[I] want to make it clear again: there is absolutely no justification — none — for looting. No justification for violence,” he said.
Biden calls for “peaceful protest”
Some may argue that Biden’s position was never clear to begin with, as he infamously referred to left-wing antifa as a mere “idea” on the campaign trail last year and generally dismissed riots as “peaceful protests.”
Minneapolis became the epicenter of a global protest movement, and the most destructive riots in American history, after George Floyd’s death in May.
Fresh riots and looting erupted in the city Sunday after Wright, a 20-year old Black man, was shot during an attempted arrest in Brooklyn Center. The officer involved, Kim Potter, stepped down Tuesday. Police say she accidentally reached for her firearm instead of a Taser.
Biden said that “peaceful protest” is “understandable” in response but wagged a finger at those acting out destructively, and showed some surprising reserve in calling on the nation to withhold judgment on the killing until the facts are in.
“The question is: Was it an accident, was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation.”
Rioters disregard Biden’s warning
Rioters seemed to disregard Biden’s warning as a second evening of violence Monday night led to about 40 arrests. Five businesses were burglarized.
The night before, protesters left one officer hospitalized with a head wound after hurling concrete and frozen soda cans at police.
This all comes as the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, is on trial, leaving Minneapolis on edge.
With many fearing violent reprisal in response to an acquittal, Biden said he hopes locals will tolerate the verdict. “I’m hopeful that there will be a verdict and an outcome that will be supported by a vast majority of people in the region, and that is my expectation and hope,” he said.