A group of armed men stood in front of a Minneapolis tobacco store Wednesday to prevent it from being looted as protests heated up over the death of George Floyd and police pulled away from several locations.
What are the details?
Interviewed on video by Max Nesterak of the Minnesota Reformer, the men didn’t give their names but said they were “free Americans.”
With two other armed men in the background, the pair said they had been moving around at protest points and found out that tobacco store workers were trying to defend the business from looting, so they came to “see if these guys need help” since “cops can’t get in here.”
One pointed to men with machetes standing next to the store’s front door; the other armed man said they were simply “protecting their own stuff.”
“I figure before there were cops, there were just Americans — so here we are,” one of the men said.
They also emphasized that they agree with the protests but not the looting.
“Bottom line: Justice for Floyd, and I hope they stop looting at some point,” one of the men said while the other added, “We definitely don’t agree with the looting though we do agree with the cause and the protest.”
One of the men also said “cops are a lot less likely to try to tread on people’s rights when there’s other armed Americans with them” and “it’s about damn time [that] heavily armed rednecks stood with fellow citizens.”
While Minnesota is an open carry state, it generally prohibits open carrying of rifles and shotguns unless those carrying have permits to carry handguns.
Wednesday marked the second day of protests in Minneapolis over the death of Floyd, a black man, after a white police officer held him down with a knee to his neck for several minutes during detainment.
Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey publicly called for charges against the former officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck.
Violent protests also erupted Wednesday in Los Angeles.