Protesters raise their fists as Minneapolis Police's 3rd Precinct burns behind them last night.
Chris Juhn/ZUMA Wire

George Floyd’s uncle denounces Minneapolis riots as response to killing


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -— The uncle of a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis said he will be attending a peaceful demonstration in Rapid City this weekend, but that he doesn’t approve of the violent protests taking place in response to the killing.

George Floyd died Monday after a white police officer knelt on his neck. Floyd’s death has set off days of violent protests in the Twin Cities and across the U.S.

“I think that is absolutely outlandish for them to destroy their own city, their own home, to make a point,” Floyd’s uncle, Selwyn Jones, told the Rapid City Journal. “I don’t think the point that they’re trying to make is the point that we’re trying to make.”

Jones planned to attend a walk in memory of Floyd on Saturday in Rapid City. He said he understands the frustration of the people who have been rioting, but that they are “taking advantage of a bad situation to express anger.”

Jones, who lives in Gettysburg, South Dakota, said he first saw the video of Floyd’s death on the news, but didn’t immediately recognize his nephew.

“I’m thinking, ‘Wow, not again,'” he said. “Then my wife looks at me and says, ‘You know who that is?’”

Although the video was hard for him to watch, he was grateful it was posted online because it exposed how the police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for minutes. The officer was arrested and charged with murder on Friday.

Still, Floyd’s death has left a hole in their family that cannot be filled, even if the officer is imprisoned, Jones said.

“We don’t get to see him and his big smile anymore,” he said of his nephew.