The Police Are The Out-Of-Towners Provoking Violence

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Since protests of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis began on May 26, authorities at every level have blamed “outsiders” for provoking violence. On May 30, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter claimed that the large majority of protesters who had been arrested the previous night were from outside the state, a claim which turned out to be false.

US Attorney General William Barr claimed that the protests have been turning violent because of “groups of outside radicals and agitators,” a claim that he did not present evidence to support.

On June 1, Chief of the New York Police Department Terence Monahan claimed that protesters were coming “from California, from all over the country” to turn the protests violent, also without evidence.

And in the less consequential world of social media, people have speculated that broken windows and fires have been caused by white supremacists or anarchists who are not organic participants in the protests living in the community, in some cases capturing video that seems to support some of these assertions, though clear confirmation has been rare.

But there is a group which substantial and indisputable evidence shows is coming from outside the community and provoking violence: the police. In Minneapolis, 92 percent of police officers do not live in the city, but come in from other places, including from out of state. And additional state troopers and National Guardsmen have also been called in from outside Minneapolis.

In Monahan’s NYPD, the numbers are better: 62 percent of officers live inside the city limits—but only 45 percent of white officers do. Nationally, among the 75 cities with the largest police departments, only 35 percent of officers live in the cities they police.

In fact, Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd, declared himself a resident of Florida on an application for a realtor license obtained by Minnesota reporter Tony Webster. He keeps a house in Florida and has voted in Florida in the last two federal elections.

In other words, the igniting spark that set off the conflict and turmoil in streets across the country was started by someone coming in from out-of-state and being needlessly violent: Derek Chauvin killing an unarmed black man who had not committed a crime and was not resisting arrest.

The many police coming in from outside the community have clearly been provoking violence and escalating conflicts on a nightly basis in cities around the country. The tactic of shooting tear gas and rubber bullets into peaceful crowds has been repeated at protest after protest. Protesters exercising their right to freedom of speech to express frustration with police tactics have been maced from close range in multiple cities.

In short, there is one group that has been clearly shown to be full of outsiders coming in from elsewhere to cause trouble and provoke violence: not protesters, but police.

More articles by:

Eric Murphy is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism

July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber