NBC News has just banned their reporters from using the word “riot” while covering the oftentimes-violent protests that have ensued in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody earlier this week.
“While the situation on the ground in Minneapolis is fluid, and there has been violence, it is most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as ‘protests’–not riots,” NBC News host Craig Melvin tweeted on Thursday.
This will guide our reporting in MN. “While the situation on the ground in Minneapolis is fluid, and there has been violence, it is most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as ‘protests’–not riots.”
— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) May 28, 2020
Floyd died in police custody on Monday, and a viral video quickly surfaced afterward in which he could be seen struggling to breath as an officer kneeled on his neck. Floyd could be heard telling the officers that he could not breath—they did not let up on him at all, much to the outrage of Americans on all sides of the political spectrum.
All four officers involved in Floyd’s death have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department, but no charges have been filed against them at the time of this writing. On both Wednesday and Thursday nights, protests that started out peaceful quickly descended into what can only be described as violent riots, as businesses in the city were set on fire and burned down.
This was the scene in South Minneapolis about an hour ago. A multi-story apartment building under construction near the corner of Lake & Minnehaha caught fire, early Thursday Morning. The flames were visible from as far away as Bloomington. @KARE11 @MPRnews pic.twitter.com/45cjH5JNvH
— Dave Peterlinz (@DPet_KARE11News) May 28, 2020
Wendy’s is gone. Guy on a bike just yelled “Burn down Wendy’s?! You stupid ass motherfuckers.” pic.twitter.com/UazZD4QnD8
— Jon Collins (@JonSCollins) May 28, 2020
— christine nguyen (@xinewin) May 28, 2020
A Target store located near a local police precinct where protesters had gathered to demonstrate was also looted, with people making off with items like TVs as well as other gadgets without paying for them.
— Jeff Wagner (@Jeff_Wagner4) May 28, 2020
What happened to Floyd is a travesty, but make no mistake: These are not peaceful protests, and when protests cross over into the realm of violent riots, they need to be called out as such by the press.