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

Weekend Edition
July 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Peter Linebaugh
Police and the Wealth of Nations: Déjà Vu or Unfinished Business?
Rob Urie
Class, Race and Power
John Davis
A Requiem for George Floyd
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mutiny of the Bounties!
Richard D. Wolff
Revolutionary Possibilities: Could U.S. Capitalism Turn Nationalist?
Richard Falk
When Rogue States Sanction the International Criminal Court
Louis Proyect
Smearing Black Lives Matter…From the Left
Ralph Nader
Trump and Pence – Step Aside for Professional Pandemic Scientists and Managers
Ramzy Baroud
Tearing Down the Idols of Colonialism: Why Tunisia, Africa Must Demand French Apology
Philippe Marlière
Challenging the French Republic’s Color-Blindness
Richard C. Gross
Attack, Deny
Lee Camp
Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace
Steve Martinot
The Desire to Kill
David Yearsley
The War on Kitsch
Amy Eva Alberts Warren – Rev. William Alberts
Why are Certain Christians Democratic and Others Authoritarian?
Lawrence Davidson
Covid Madness
Brian Cloughley
Britain’s Disorder and Decline
Ellen Taylor
The US Military Has Its Knee on the Throat of the World
David Rosen
White Nationalists on the Attack
Jeff Cohen
Politicians of Color Should Not be Immune From Criticism
Joseph Natoli
Drawn Away from Reality in Plain View
Frank Joyce
Give Me Liberty,  Give You Death
Jonah Raskin
My Adventures in the Matriarchy
Paul Street
The Racist Counter-Revolution of 1776
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Corruption of the Democratic Party: Talking to Ted Rall about his new book
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts and Broken Promises
Paul Edwards
A Bridge Too Far
Jennifer Joan Thompson
How to Do Things With Theses: Chile’s National Police Force Sues the Feminist Artistic Collective, Las Tesis
Shawn Fremstad
Vacations for All!
Thomas Knapp
A Modest Proposal for Compromise on “Confederate” Military Bases
Vijay Prashad, Eduardo Viloria Daboín, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Venezuela’s Borderlands Have Been Assaulted by COVID-19
Thom Hartmann
COVID Masks: The Latest Faux Conservative Outrage
Jesse Jackson
Mandatory College Football Practices in Time of Pandemic are Nuts
Nicholas Vincenzo Barney
Consensus Politics on the Fringe: The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Intellectual Dark Web
Ted Rall
The Data is Clear: Progressives Should Boycott Biden
Theresa Church
In Reconsidering ‘Normalcy’ Genetically Engineered Trees Do Not Belong
Chelsea Carrick
Let’s Not Lose Momentum
Adam Rissien
Sorry Secretary Perdue, Our National Forests are Not Crops
Arshad Khan
India and China Tussle on the Roof of the World
Paul Gilk
A Few Theoretical Percentages
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”:  A Phrase That’s Tells us Very Little, if Anything,  About the Actual Levels of Danger We  Face
Claire Chadwick
I Got COVID-19 at Work. I Won’t be the Last
George Wuerthner
The Upper Green River Should be a National Park, Not a Feedlot
Julian Vigo
Profiteering in the Era of COVID-19
Ravi Mangla
Policing is Not a Public Good