• Nicholas Bither

Violence at Black Lives Matter Protests have been Instigated by Police and White Supremacist Groups

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

As peaceful Black Lives Matter protests continue across the country, many have become violent. Some are blaming Black Lives Matter protestors for looting and allege that ANTIFA is responsible for the violence. Although this is the narrative president Trump claims, it is important to take an objective look at the causes of violence during these protests.

For instance, Minnesota recently linked arrested looters to White Supremacist groups. As a result of the chaos during the Minnesota protests, it is difficult to be certain of who instigated the violence, but significant amounts of evidence point to the theory that out of state White Supremacist groups were responsible for a majority of the violence and looting. According to Governor Tim Walz, as many as 80% of the arrested were from out of state.

It would be in the interest of White Supremacy groups to turn BLM protests violent and loot in their name, as this effectively discounts the message BLM strives to communicate. Furthermore, by tarnishing the name of BLM protestors, these groups have made it socially acceptable to claim that protests fighting for justice, equality, and accountability are somehow bad because they are violent. Not only is this argument flawed because many protestors aren’t responsible for the violence, but it is also immoral because property can be replaced, while lives cannot.

In many cases, Black Lives Matter protests are peaceful until police respond with

excessive violence. In the United States, we have the right to peacefully protest – Police are not respecting this right as throughout the country police are shooting rubber bullets and lobbing tear gas at peaceful crowds. As more people realize the injustices embedded in the institution, police feel threatened and continue to abuse their power.

Police are attacking peaceful protestors without any discretion. One example of this is Scott Nichols, a balloon artist who was riding home on his scooter from the Minneapolis protests when he was struck by a rubber bullet.

"I just pulled over and put my hands up, because I didn't want to get killed," said Nichols.

"Anybody that knows me knows I wasn't out there to cause problems."

Nichols doesn’t fit the description of those arrested that President Trump claims are radical-left thugs engaging in domestic terrorism. On the other hand, there is little evidence to suggest that those arrested fit this description. Nichols spent two days in jail before being arrested on criminal charges of riot and curfew violation.

Before arguing for the police and against Black Lives Matters, it is important to think critically about the corruption of police, as well as the truth (or lack thereof) of President Trump’s claims. To discount Black Lives Matters means discounting the oppression and excessive violence caused by police against people of color.