George Floyd

A Lot More Ice Cream Trucks, a Lot Fewer Humvees at D.C.'s Largest Protest Since George Floyd's Death

Saturday afternoon's protests in the nation's capital saw huge crowds, few police, and no violence.

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Demonstrators who may have numbered in the tens of thousands poured into D.C.'s streets today to protest police violence in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. It was the city's largest protest since Floyd's death.

The atmosphere was festive, the participants were peaceful, and the law enforcement presence was relatively small and hands-off. This marks a contrast with Washington's protests earlier in the week, which were angry, tense, and marked by vandalism, arson, and indiscriminate police crackdowns.

Early in the afternoon, crowds of demonstrators stretched all along the National Mall, from the U.S. Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. Speeches were given at each end, while periodic marches would break off and head toward the White House.

Other demonstrators gathered just north of the White House at the newly christened Black Lives Matter Plaza. The St. John's Episcopal Church and Hay-Adams hotel along the plaza were both set on fire last weekend. On Monday, police cleared out peaceful protesters from the area with batons and pepper spray so that Trump could give a short speech in front of the St. John's building.

Today, in contrast, a large but upbeat crowd milled around the plaza, waving signs and shouting the familiar chants of "black lives matter" and "no justice, no peace." Further up the block, demonstrators danced to music blasting from loudspeakers.

Helping beat the heat were countless stations where people could grab free water, sports drinks, and granola bars. Some people were even passing out bagged sandwiches. Others brought pizza.

One group of high-school-aged girls handing out Gatorades and Ritz crackers to demonstrators told me they'd managed to raise $2,000 to supply their snack stand in just 24 hours.

Further away from the White House, bars and restaurants that had been boarded up or closed earlier in the week selling beer and hot dogs to passersby.

The police presence at today's demonstrations was minimal compared to past days. Lafayette Square, in front of the White House, was still heavily fenced off, but the large contingent of riot police and National Guard troops that had been stationed there was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, a group from the New Black Panther Party occupied a section of the fence, from where they delivered short speeches through megaphones."How many of you know what a nightstick feels like? How many have been choked out by police?" one shouted. A few people in the crowd replied in the affirmative.

A handful of police cars and military vehicles were positioned a few blocks from the White House, but they were outnumbered by ice cream and food trucks. The law enforcement personnel standing next to the vehicles looked mostly bored. One National Guard trooper waved periodically to protestors.

Helping to keep things calm was a contingent from the group Social Workers for Justice, who passed out snacks while wearing bright red "de-escalation" t-shirts.

One woman with the group explained that they'd been founded only a couple of days ago. They've been coming to protests to try to calm down anyone they saw getting too heated or angry.

"We go the same places as the cops without having to beat people," said a man with the group.

Also present was a group of around 100 nurses, doctors, and medical students marching with signs reading "White Coats for Black Lives."

One man with the group, a second-year medical student at George Washington University, told me about the ways the medical profession had perpetuated racism in the past. (He mentioned the Tuskegee experiments as an example.) Continuing health disparities today, he added, make it crucial that doctors and nurses show solidarity with the black community.

When I asked about the risks large gatherings like today's posed for spreading COVID-19, he read a prepared statement claiming that these marches shouldn't be considered a transmission risk given the role they could play in ending systemic racism. But protests against shelter-in-place orders were still a transmission risk, he felt, given that they were opposed to public health interventions and were "rooted in white nationalism."

The large marches in D.C. today were replicated in cities across the country. News reports indicate that those rallies also tended to attract large crowds and little violence.

NEXT: How Injustice at Home Damages the US Position in the World

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  1. these marches shouldn’t be considered a transmission risk given the role they could play in ending systemic racism. But protests against shelter-in-place orders were still a transmission risk

    He should admit himself to a hospital for study. Something wrong with his mouth if he can talk out of both sides at once like that.

    Amazing how viruses understand intent so well. I’d worry that the Pentagon might decide to repurpose it more malignantly.

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    1. Imagine if this idiot was the doctor you see at the emergency room!

      Doc: “Think you got the bug? We’re you at a rally? Which government oppression was it protesting, lockdowns or police abuse?”

    2. I hope the medical community realizes that people will ignore them from now on.

      “Your mom’s funeral is not as important as our virtue signalling”

      1. Instead of being a bitch you should be thanking these great Americans for standing up to this vile police state.

        1. But they are standing up to the part of the police state I like, and not the part I don’t like.

          /sarc

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        2. The medical community? Pass.

    3. Imagine being treated by this idiot. From now on, I will question all “doctors” thoroughly about their political positions. If I don’t like what I hear, I’m walking away — even if I’m sitting in an examination room.

  2. ‘When I asked about the risks large gatherings like today’s posed for spreading COVID-19, he read a prepared statement claiming that these marches shouldn’t be considered a transmission risk given the role they could play in ending systemic racism. But protests against shelter-in-place orders were still a transmission risk, he felt, given that they were opposed to public health interventions and were “rooted in white nationalism.”‘

    Cute propaganda and pure BS.

    And confusing, since we have been told that the virus has been unfairly targeting black people. But now we are being told that the virus responds to racism by affecting only white people. Some med students need to be punched in the mouth.

    1. Yeah, what?

      On the one hand, what does white nationalism have to do with opposing shelter-in-place orders?

      On the other hand, someone send this kid back to med school. Wait, he is in med school. Someone flunk this clown. Our medical education system at work…

      And I’m out of hands, but protests aren’t going to end ‘systemic racism’, whatever that is. If you can’t specifically identify the mechanics of the racism, you can’t solve the problem. Protests neither aid in identifying the mechanics, nor offer real world solutions. In short, they’re useless.

      The difference between the civil rights protests of the 60s and today’s nonsense, is the civil rights protests knew specifically what they wanted and could thus apply pressure to achieve those ends. What does success look like today? No one knows. They’ve created a term so amorphous that they can’t even define what success looks like.

      1. Exactly, and very well stated. It’s why “Occupy Wall Street” fizzled. They had grievances, but not proposed solutions. Protesting is our right, and I agree that what happened to George Floyd (and many others) is unacceptable. These incidents are not limited to black folks. Cops in Houston killed a white couple based on a bogus drug tip, a hispanic child was killed when a SWAT team threw a flash grenade into their house and it landed in his crib. But it’s different in the black community. I get that. But it’s a complex problem that will require a complex, layered solution. Defunding the police is not the answer.

        Street rallies are fun and make you feel like you are part of a larger movement, so I understand the appeal. But for all the talk about “dialogue,” it seems only one opinion is acceptable. A true dialogue would be useful. But when it comes to race, we tiptoe like mad.

        Also, I am over the idea that this is an irredeemably racist country when the Floyd family has received over $8 million in donations through Go Fund Me, and at least half (if not more) of the protesters are white. I’m glad his family has that money. There was even a protest in my small, mostly white Texas city. But I am lectured to understand my whiteness. How does that help?

        1. Fortunately, that baby didn’t die. He was very badly burned.

        2. Hold a sec…the Occupy assholes DID in fact have specific demands. The electorate completely rejected them.

          1. The “demands” of the Occupy assholes were delusional, economically ignorant nonsense.

      2. It’s all just an excuse for people to gather and party. If the lockdowns had never happened, the protests wouldn’t have spread to every city in America.

      3. What I gather from Occupy and even this is it is essentially, like most things with a youngish crowd, expecting other people to solve their problems for them.

        Zero thought to any reforms beyond free healthcare and free education (because apparently the college educated in the crowd serve as shields against rubber bullets).

        I am past caring and only mostly upset non-black people weren’t protesting Kelly Thomas and the like more vigorously. So many of these issues could have been nipped in the bud ages ago.

        Instead, here we are with idiots speaking towards police violence, and there is no one to blame but ourselves.

      4. “The difference between the civil rights protests of the 60s and today’s nonsense, is” that there were real problems back then, and now there’s just psychotic fantasy

        1. Police abuse is only fantasy? What planet?

          The problem of police abuse is being mislabeled as a race issue, which is only one of many issues contributing to police abuse. Mis-diagnosing the problem will result in the wrong cures.

          1. In 2019, 9 unarmed black people were shot by police.

            5 were clearly justified

            4 were questionable

            2 were prosecuted as criminal.

            2, after being investigated, were not.

            2 criminal shootings. In a nation of 330,000,000. Or, to specify a bit, from a black population of 43,000,000.

            2.

            Is that REALLY a problem?

            1. Care to cite a source for those numbers. Unfortunately, police departments are not required to report when they shoot people. We do not have good data on the number of police shootings.

            2. Well, I’d say any unnecessary police shooting is a problem – it doesn’t need to be criminal to be problematic. (Even if your numbers are right, yes, 4 questionable shootings is still a problem).

              And it’s not just shootings. George Floyd wasn’t shot. Nor was Eric Garner.

              Nor is it just deaths that matter.

            3. 1,004 people shot and killed by police in 2019, and that is only a partial number since stats are not required.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/

              Reason has been reporting police abuses almost daily for decades.

              What planet?

        2. Not just real problems but actual legislative solutions that could mitigate the racism at that time. If you go to Youtube you can find tapes of the calls andmeetings between King and other civil rights leaders and LBJ discussing and working out their strategies. King and the marchers would push the issue to the public and LBJ would be working the Congress, cajoling and threatening and pleading with them to pass laws. LBJ may have been a son of a bitch and an awful person; but his dedication to fighting racism simply cannot be dismissed. He was sincere in wanting to mitigate it.
          This strategy was most useful in passing the Voting Rights Act which, even more than the ’64 Civil Rights Act, destroyed Jim Crow. More than 10,000 black officials – mayors, city councilmen, police chiefs – were elected over the years.

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    2. No one said the virus is targeting black people. That’s just silly. A virus doesn’t have a mind. What people are pointing out is that black communities are more prone to being exposed to the virus since they tend to have service jobs, lower paying jobs, jobs with no insurance, and live in multi-generational homes when compared to other ethnic groups. Also black’s get turned away at twice the rate of white people in clinics/hospitals, mostly for lack of insurance. It’s not fucking rocket science. Ignoring those facts is just dumb and disingenuous since everyone knows they exist

      1. If you search YouTube you’ll find authentic comments from black activists who were saying back in February their skin color protects them. This was the argument used to face down lockdown, and I dont blame them. Interestingly, when mobs of mostly black youth were protesting the lockdown by partying in public anyway AND being faced down by white cops in riot gear, the media didn’t cover it as police aggression and the black kids were not labeled right wing extremists.

      2. All the more reason not to have massive gatherings which spread the virus farther and faster among a more vulnerable population with more contact with older members. At least if you truly believe covid-19 is so bad the economic lockdowns were warranted.

        However righteous their motivations, motivations of protesters are not a reason to differentiate virus risk, yet that is exactly what these idiot medical persons (professional and students) are saying.

    3. If only I’d realized shelter-in-place protests had been rooted in white nationalism, I could’ve ignored them.

  3. Saturday afternoon’s protests in the nation’s capital saw huge crowds, few police, and no violence.

    Nothing left to break,steal or burn.

    1. Sure bud, keep telling yourself that.

      1. Right? There’s plenty left for us all!

  4. “The atmosphere was festive, the participants were peaceful, and the law enforcement presence was relatively small and hands-off.”

    I’m going to lose it. This wasn’t a protest, it was a fucking street festival. A block party. And I’ve been locked up for what? If the virus were truly that dangerous, “experts” would be begging people to hold their protests on Zoom until we flatten the vaccine or whatever.

    I agree with the protesters. But I deeply resent that I have lost the last three months of my life for nothing. For NOTHING. I want to dance in the street and get an ice cream cone, BUT I CAN’T because Covid. I’m so sick of this fucking virus I could scream. I might scream. I feel like I have been screaming into a void for weeks, and now our government, our media, and our “experts” endorse THIS shit.

    I can’t say it enough: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    1. How can anyone take anything seriously anymore?

      1. I’ve been that way for a long long time.

    2. Maybe you’ll have better luck in the July lockdown.

      1. Well there will be a spike in the number of cases (ooooh! scary!), so I fear your prediction is correct about the lockdown. But I’ll dig up some instance of police misconduct, make it a cause, and start my own protest and ask people to join me and please bring beer. And ice cream. And a boombox.

    3. Yer Dada.

      Go out and claim you are protesting for black people’s right to work, free from police abuse.

      While eating ice cream and using squirt guns with red dye on people.

  5. …these marches shouldn’t be considered a transmission risk given the role they could play in ending systemic racism. But protests against shelter-in-place orders were still a transmission risk, he felt, given that they were opposed to public health interventions and were “rooted in white nationalism.”

    Sophistry not science.

    1. The key term there is “he felt”, because when you want an opinion based on hard medical science there’s nothing more sciency than feelings. God help whoever has the misfortune to be this guy’s patients, because science and medicine and logic sure ain’t gonna help.

    2. The future of national health care – – – – – – – – – – – –

      No medication without re-education.

  6. Afternoon protests are typically non-violent and have less looting. The evening hours is typically when more violence and looting occurs. By and large I believe that these are primarily two different groups. I will stand with the protestors, but not with the rioters and looters.

    There are plenty of grievances for the policy failures that the ruling Democrat and Republican parties (republicrats) have subjected the population too. It is time to send both of these parties home from Washington DC and allow the 3rd largest party (Libertarian) begin to repair the damage.

  7. Did any of the “protesters” discuss how 50 years of the Great Society decimated the African American community?

    1. Of course- the Great Society is what they were protesting 😉

  8. Fewer police apparently make better for better protests. Should that come as a surprise? I don’t think so

    1. so the logical follow-up is that the presence of police makes the people loot?

      1. No.
        The looting and rioting were meant to stir the pot and turn people against Trump.
        But a funny thing happened. Instead of demanding Trump’s head, the general public decided it didn’t really sympathize nor endorse rioters and looters.
        It turned out to be a bad look, so the dogs were called off

  9. Minneapolis has had 42 straight years of Democratic leadership, are they admitting it’s been a failure?

    1. Proving that a segment of the Democratic party is more interested in using the legitimate and the illusory concerns of minority voters to win elections, than in actually addressing the legitimate concerns and resolving the illusory concerns.

      How can they make heartfelt appeals to the troubles of “identity” groups if those groups don’t have troubles?

      Not that the Republicans haven’t developed a bad habit of playing to fears and trumping up irrational worries.

      But in the case of the Democrats, it’s an example of their broader ideology of dependence. Bread and circuses for the masses, and an ever increasing dole, the long sad slide ending in UBI, mandatory single-payer healthcare, and total dependence on The State.

      1. That is the ultimate problem with Identity Politics in general. If you solve issues, you lose that identity group off the identity politics battlefield.

  10. If there were systemic racism in this country, the population would be about 90% white and 45 states would be red. These kids obviously have no concept of what constitutes “systemic”, they just throw out words with steeped in revolutionary tone to suit their agenda.

    If any of them tried to be a citizen of another nation, they would run into a verifiable system put in place to filter them out. You would have to pass a citizenship test, usually requiring language proficiency. You’d have to prove your worth to their economy, and or your income level. It would be against the law to put up stores with foreign language signs. Some stores can refuse admit foreign workers or guests.

    There is ZERO evidence of systemic racism in this nation. Cops shoot a handful of blacks every year, and minority officer are just as likely to shoot or arrest a POC as a white cop. A nation with systemic racism cannot be prosperous and stable at the same time. You might as well argue that the Jim Crow south would have been the next super power.

    Are we under some illusion these kids won’t be demanding free healthcare, hate speech laws and race based admission using racial equality as cover? These are racial tribalists / wannabe revolutionaries whose endgame radical egalitarianism, where the government ensures total equality of all resources and outcome. They already made enemies out of the police, big banks, white people, etc etc etc etc, as oppressors of the voiceless. Floyd was a case of a broken clocking being right twice a day.

    1. What an incoherent argument. The only thing you’ve convinced me of is that you don’t understand what you’re talking about.

    2. “These kids obviously have no concept of what constitutes “systemic”, they just throw out words with steeped in revolutionary tone to suit their agenda.”

      When not enough real (traditional) racism can be found, it must be collectivized and abstracted.
      Thus one can be attacked as racist without doing or saying anything racist because they occupy the assigned racist position in the system.
      There can be no personal responsibility, only collective guilt.

    3. At this point, I’ve spent a lifetime treating people equally.

      I’m STILL a racist.

      …so why should I continue trying to treat people equally?

      Attacking me due to my skin color is only showing me that what I was taught in school was utter bullshit.

      1. “Attacking me due to my skin color is only showing me that what I was taught in school was utter bullshit”

        Yeah I think the left is disappointed in the lack of actual racist violence and they are tryimg to provoke some. Its a pretty good, albeit depraved, strategy if that’s what they want.

  11. The mayor of dc named a street blm and painted a street in big yellow colors so all is resolved now everyone can go home knowing that someone did something

    1. Too bad they didn’t paint BLACK LIVES MATTER on the streets of S.E. and N.E. D.C., where around 50 blacks have been killed so far this year. They should probably run a march or two through there as well.

  12. Here’s my question: Doesn’t Dear Leader need to go show the Bible he borrowed from his handlers across the street from the WH? And if the answer is yes then I merely ask what in the hell are we paying the National Guard and army for if not for the glory of Dear Leader? I mean, Libertarianism is fine and all, but when the rubber hits the road and Dear Leader needs a photo op are a couple thousand peaceful protesters really supposed to get in the way of that? I say as a libertarian that it’s time to clear the streets of anti-government vermin and celebrate the power and mage sty of the commander-in-chief.

    1. Your desperation is delicious.
      I look forward to your posts

      1. Who is the desperate one here? What AS said is pretty much true. Peaceful protesters were forcibly removed for a photo opt.

        1. Any time a President goes anywhere peaceful people are removed (or prohibited) from that space. Only thing different here is Orange Man Bad.

          1. No the difference here is the people removed were protesters. That is difference from clearing a safe space for President’s visit. You know this too so don’t trot out the BS.

            1. Hahaha!! You seem to have forgotten Hillary in Philly and dozens of other times.

              TDS is strong in this one!

    2. Not enough protestors died during this nonsense.

      1. But several innocent people were killed and injured by protesters. Strangely, you don’t hear too much about that.

        The Washington Post, for example, copied an AP report about the 77 year old retired police captain who was killed by looters attacking a friend’s store. Unfortunately, the only way you could find it in the Post was do a keyword search for the victim’s name. They do that a lot with stories that don’t fit the narrative.

        1. Well, Jerry, the group says Black Lives Matter. Not that ALL of the black lives do. They are selective.

    3. American Socialist
      June.6.2020 at 11:49 pm

      “Here’s my question:…”

      Here’s my answer:
      Fuck off and die, you pathetic piece of lefty shit.

    4. Comparing the US to North Korea is a HUGE stretch. If their Dear Leader wants a photo op, he has no obstacles because protesters would immediately end up in a gulag. Is it pathetic that he cleared Lafayette square to take a picture at a church? Yes. But comparing it to the Kim dynasty and communism destroys your credibility from the first sentence.

  13. “Continuing health disparities today, he added, make it crucial that doctors and nurses show solidarity with the black community.”.

    Not even a logically coherent sentence.

    1. Public schools taught by union lackeys.

  14. so some Reason dork goes to a bloc party? and that’s an article?

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    1. He is near death.

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  17. So what you’re saying is that after the previous show of force and threats of terrorism charges all the anarchists and opportunistic shitbags decided going out was a bad idea, thus leaving the protesting to actual protesters.

  18. This may not be the best timeline, but it certainly is an entertaining one.

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  20. Keep things capitalist, America. Even my mom has a BLM mug she bought off Amazon, which owns the Washington Post. My company is already implementing mandatory racial sensitivity training, conducted by a law firm which has Fortune 500 clients including Amazon. It’s all a big scam, we all know it. I guess smart people go along anyway to keep their jobs. The masters are always going to be the same.

    1. The sad thing is that when I grew up we did not need racial or gender sensitivity training because we were taught manners. We were expected to treat other people politely and did not need to be trained to do that.

      1. …and they STILL think you’re a bigot who needs to bend the knee.

        Think about that.

        Not saying you are. I highly doubt you are. But these protestors are pretty sure that you are one.

      2. But you were (and still are) sexist and racist because you expected everyone else to do the same.

      3. No matter how much you prostrate yourself, they’ll still hate your guts.

    2. Yeah, I had only one of those feel good mandatory classes before I retired. The company had me working in Orlando; the class was in San Francisco. Yeah, a transcontinental flight to learn how terrible things are for everybody except straight white men. The only fun part was the class tradition that if you were late, you had to sing a song or do a dance for the rest of the class. So, with apologies to Rod Stewart, I sang with a pretty straight face:
      “If I listen long enough to you,
      I’ll find a way to believe that it’s all true,
      Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
      Still, I look to find a way . . . . . ”

      (Got away with it too)

      1. Whereas I worked in D.C. and my training was in Orlando.

    3. My company is already implementing mandatory racial sensitivity training

      LOL, I’ve had to do that for the past 5 years. They call it Equity and Inclusion, but most of the time it’s literally “white people bad,” “white people fragile when called bad,” or “white people may mean well, but microaggressions.”

      1. I do wonder why those courses don’t lead to hostile work environment suits.

      2. We had exactly one of these.
        One of my office-mates asked whether we were being ‘Miriandized’, to which the presenter (a worker-bee from Legal) pretty much agreed.

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  22. Good to see the protests more peaceful, police backing off, organizers getting a better handle on separating out the destructive elements, etc.

    But.. I’m pretty sure the virus doesn’t care about your politics… anyone claiming that there’s a difference in risk because of the supposed or real motivations of the protest is a moron.

  23. rather than the peaceful protesters getting a handle on the bad apples….its more likely the bad apples simply stopped showing up a few days ago

    1. Once you have filled up your apartment with loot, no need for further protesting.

  24. Just wondering – – was there any MLB city where protests/riot did NOT occur?
    So does that mean the season can begin?

    1. Baseball is boring as shit. Riots are much more fun!

  25. National Guard should have been called in because they were dancing to that lame-a song

  26. Hmmm, Jemele Hill, who has had a career of sucking hard but still moving forward, condemns Dr Ben Carson for not really getting racism.

    Sure, toots. Ben Carson dhas never experienced racism like you have. I mean, he never ran the risk of being coddled to death.

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