Townhall’s Julio Rosas has been in Minneapolis, Minnesota covering the protests, riots, and looting sparked by the death of George Floyd since last Thursday, and he’s done an amazing job of reporting from the scene’ both the legitimate and lawful protests that have taken place during the day and the violent rioting and looting that’s erupted almost every evening for a week.
A large crowd of protesters have gathered outside the US Bank stadium. As it's getting closer to curfew, someone on a megaphone is encouraging people to leave and go home. pic.twitter.com/lrQCbnvH4v
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 1, 2020
Rosas has been in the thick of the action throughout his time on the ground, and has the scars to prove it after he was hit by a rubber bullet fired by a Minnesota National Guard member on Friday night. Julio joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about what he’s seen and heard during his time in the Twin Cities, including a growing number of armed citizens who are standing up and turning out to protect businesses and neighborhoods.
While the rioting and looting was originally centered around the Third Precinct police substation and commercial corridor of Lake Street in south Minneapolis, it has spilled out into surrounding neighborhoods, and Rosas described seeing barricades erected on local streets to keep out potential looters. Standing guard over the blockades were residents of the community, some of whom were armed, and Rosas noted that despite major damage just blocks away, the local neighborhood remained untouched by rioters during his time on the ground.
Rosas says that the locals he’s talked to have been decidedly unimpressed by the response of Mayor Jacob Frey and Gov. Tim Walz, particularly on the first few nights of the riots, when the Third Precinct building was burned to the ground. According to Rosas, police likely could have maintained control of the facility if other officers had been ordered to assist those standing guard outside, but instead Mayor Frey gave the order to stand down, leaving the building and the city streets in control of the looters.
The state’s response has also been marred by attacks on journalists covering the riots, including Rosas, who was hit in the chest with a rubber bullet on Friday, even though he wasn’t mingling with the crowd of rioters and looters. Other reporters have been tear gassed, and local photojournalist Linda Tirado was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet, suffering permanent injuries.
an update: I am permanently blind in my left eye, and the docs absolutely refuse to let me go back to work for they say six weeks. I’m definitely not allowed to be near smoke or gas.
Usually if I had to stay home I’d spend a lot of time amplifying folk but reading hurts today
— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) May 30, 2020
A CBS reporter tweeted over the weekend that his crew had also been fired on by police with rubber bullets, though the reporters were 500 feet away from protesters.
This is the moment Minneapolis Police fired on our CBS News crew with rubber bullets. As you can see, no protesters anywhere near us- we all were wearing credentials and had cameras out. Our sound engineer was hit in the arm. #cbsnews pic.twitter.com/UAy7HYhGnL
— Michael George (@MikeGeorgeCBS) May 31, 2020
Without a doubt, law enforcement and National Guard members in the Twin Cities were under intense pressure to respond to the riots, but as Rosas tells me, these incidents only add fuel to the accusations of police misconduct and have exacerbated the tensions between residents and the law enforcement officers charged with protecting and serving the community.
As for the idea promulgated by Mayor Frey and others that “white supremacists” have been responsible for the violence in Minneapolis, Rosas says that’s nonsense, adding that crowds of peaceful protesters and violent looters alike have had a multi-racial component to them. Rosas believes that politicians trying to pin the blame on white nationalists are simply trying to deflect from their own ineptitude at the expense of the truth, which is far more complicated than the simple narrative put forth by elected officials.
Be sure to check out the entire interview with Townhall’s Julio Rosas above, and stick around afterwards for more news, including a 70-year old man who was able to protect himself after he was stabbed by a stranger in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, thanks to the fact that he had his legally carried firearm with him.