Donald Trump wrote on Twitter ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’

Trump says 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts' with military threat


Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to help deal with protests after rioting broke out in anger over the death of George Floyd.

He wrote on Twitter that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ after saying he had offered the state of Minnesota’s governor support for use of the military and describing ‘I can’t breathe’ protesters as thugs.

Twitter found that his tweets violated their rules on ‘gloryifying violence’, but allowed them to stay because they found it ‘may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.’

Demonstrators have set fire to buildings and took over a police station after video emerged of officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

This morning Donald Trump tweeted: ‘I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.

‘These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!’

A Minneapolis Police Department spokesman said the protesters broke into the 3rd precinct station, which has become the scene of numerous demonstrations by those angered at the video showing 46-year-old George Floyd’s arrest.

The spokesman said police abandoned the building ‘in the interest of the safety of our personnel’ while livestream video showed the protesters breaking in, setting the building ablaze and igniting fireworks as fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz earlier on Thursday called in the National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request, but it was not immediately clear when and where the reserve force was being deployed and troops were not seen at protests in the city or nearby St Paul.

Businesses in both cities have boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting, with Minneapolis-based Target announcing it was temporarily closing two dozen area stores.

Minneapolis has shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service until at least Sunday out of safety concerns.

The demonstrations began on Tuesday after Mr Floyd died the previous day in a video in which Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneels on his neck until he slowly stops talking and moving. The 3rd Precinct covers the portion of south Minneapolis where Floyd died.

Chauvin, whose driveway was splattered with red paint and the graffiti ‘murderer’, has not spoken publicly since Mr Floyd’s death and his lawyer did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Protesters took over a police station in Minneapolis as anger grew over the death of George Floyd (Picture: Reuters)
A police officer aims a tear gas gun at protesters yesterday in St Paul, Minnesota (Picture: Getty)

He and the other three officers involved in Mr Floyd’s arrest were fired on Tuesday.

Minneapolis City Council records showed that Chauvin moonlighted as a bouncer at a downtown Latin nightclub and was among a group of six officers who opened fire on a stabbing suspect in 2006 after a chase that ended when the suspect pointed a sawn-off shotgun at them.

The suspect, Wayne Reyes, was hit multiple times and died, and a grand jury decided the use of force was justified.

Two years later, Chauvin shot Ira Latrell Toles as he was responding to a domestic dispute.

Online city records also showed that 17 complaints have been filed against Chauvin during his 19-year service.
Donald Trump has now given support for the military to be used to control riots (Picture: Reuters)
Chauvin was involved in another suspect’s death in 2006 (Picture: Reuters)

Sixteen complaints were closed with no discipline, and the remaining complaint generated two letters of reprimand, with one apparently related to the use of a squad car dashboard camera.

The records do not include any details on the substance of the complaints. Less is known about the other three officers involved in Mr Floyd’s arrest.

Online court records indicated the officer who stood guard at the scene, Tou Thao, was sued in federal court in 2017 for alleged excessive force.

According to the lawsuit, Lamar Ferguson claimed Mr Thao and his partner stopped him as he was walking to his girlfriend’s house in 2014 for no reason and beat him up. The city ultimately settled the lawsuit for 25,000 dollars (£20,000).

City records show six complaints have been filed against Mr Thao, five of which were closed with no discipline and one remains open.

Thomas Lane joined the force as a cadet in March 2019, according to online city records, and no information about J. Alexander Kueng’s service history was immediately available.