Minneapolis mayor urges protesters to wear masks and practice social distancing


The mayor of Minneapolis told individuals protesting that their anger is “understandable” and “right" but urged them to make sure they are wearing masks and practicing social distancing during their demonstrations.

“The City encourages everyone to exercise caution to stay safe while participating in demonstrations, including wearing masks and physical distancing as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office wrote in a statement addressed to individuals who took to the streets following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. “The City has made hundreds of masks available to protesters this week.”

On Thursday, Frey expressed empathy by telling protesters their anger was “right.”

“What we’ve seen over the last two days, and the emotion-ridden conflict over last night, is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror but 400 years,” Frey said. “If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable. It’s right.”

Frey continued: “It’s a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived. While not from lived experience, that sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities. To ignore it, to toss it out, would be to ignore the values we all claim to have. That are all the more important during a time of crisis.”

Rioters set fires across Minneapolis and looted stores as they lashed out following the release of a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the throat of Floyd, a black man who was arrested for alleged forgery.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested Friday and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, and three other officers involved were fired and could face charges in the future.