George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department last year. The trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer accused of having caused his death, has aroused intense media interest. Some networks, including CNN, chose to televise the proceedings on a daily basis (in an eerie parallel to the murder trial of celebrity athlete O.J. Simpson during the 1990s).
Accused murderer O.J. Simpson obtained an acquittal. Now some well-connected social media figures have started posting inflammatory online videos suggesting a similar outcome in the Chauvin case might result in rioting.
Model Maya Echols opined on TikTok (a platform once linked to China by President Trump) that if an acquittal results "all hell is gonna break loose." She predicted burning buildings. “If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose,” Echols said in a now-removed video (see below). “Don’t be surprised when building are on fire. Just sayin’.”
Hopefully, Echols underestimates the faith the public places in the U.S. criminal justice system. Extensive rioting did not occur when O.J. Simpson received an acquittal, nor should it if Derek Chauvin obtains an acquittal or a conviction. The jury, not public opinion, must determine his fate.
Ashley Gantt, a prominent Black Lives Matter leader in Rochester, New York, for example, made waves last summer when she said she did not “care if the whole city burned down.” The Daily Wire reported:
“If there was looting, if there was things on fire, that is not what is important. What is important is why these things happen,” Gantt said, telling the media they have a job “to make sure that’s the story that’s heard.”
She referenced the riots that swept metropolitan areas across the country the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. died, noting that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed just months later.
“I am just tired of you guys not putting the correct narrative out there,” she said. “I don’t care if the whole city burned down. We need justice.”
“Justice” apparently now means people riot in the street if they don’t get the conviction that they want...😳 pic.twitter.com/yeZ62Y6fWN
— Kelly Campagna (@warriorwoman91) April 5, 2021