Organized assault on civil order spreads across U.S. cities purporting to be about ‘justice’ for George Floyd

Organized assault on civil order spreads across U.S. cities purporting to be about ‘justice’ for George Floyd
Rioters tend fires in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, 29 May 2020. Twitter video

The only real point that needs to be made about the riots in some of America’s biggest cities on Friday night is that they obviously weren’t protests about police treatment of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  They were riots, opportunely coordinated in multiple cities to ride the coattails of legitimate protest over Floyd’s tragic and suspicious death in police custody.

At the moment, it isn’t clear how much momentum the organized attacks have.  A few hours ago, a rioting mob was attacking the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, breaking windows and wreaking havoc on the lobby as rioters scuffled with CNN security and police.  Additional video on social media showed other attacks in Atlanta.  Sadly, the College Football Hall of Fame has been basically destroyed, windows and glass partitions shattered, gift shop pillaged, artifacts and displays from the rich history of college football ransacked, damaged, and gone.

 

In the last hour, however, live coverage on Fox News has reflected the Atlanta situation quieting down.  Footage of the downtown streets showed the police in control and little activity.

Arson remains a major problem in Minneapolis, and showed up Friday night in Brooklyn, where a police van was attacked and set on fire.  A police precinct headquarters was overrun in the course of the evening, and reinforcements had to be called in.  I haven’t seen updates on the status of that situation.  (The location was Precinct 88, for those to whom that conveys intelligence.)

Some Twitters users have been keeping running tallies of the cities where protests have shown up.  They’re not distinguishing well between protests and riots, for the most part, but this tweep has video in his tweet thread from each location, and you can judge for yourselves.

This tweep is advertising locations for recruiting purposes. (Click through for the thread.)

Besides the riots, there are a number of places where peaceful protests have also occurred.  Some of the protests have been obstructive and inconvenient for local commuters, but haven’t tipped over into violence. This list includes locations where riots have also occurred.

That said … Dallas:

Houston:

It’s not that there haven’t been peaceful protests.  There have been.  But the distinction between peaceful protests and riots has been visually pretty clear.  One of the chief delineators is the demographics involved.  Video evidence seems to indicate that the majority of the rioters are college-age white people.

Going by both perusal of the videos and the comments from social media reporters on-scene, it sounds like there are core groups of experienced tacticians and organizers at the major riot locations, but most of the rioters are less trained.  They’re taking advantage of the factors they have on their side right now: surprise and numbers.

This has the potential to get very ugly fast, but at the moment the jury is still out on how widespread they can manage to make it.  As I type this, I’m trying to keep an eye on Washington, D.C., where a well-organized mob reportedly traveled the Mall between the White House and Capitol Hill and back, and in the last hour was scuffling with what looked like D.C. Metro Police outside the White House.  The mob was removing steel-post barrier fencing set up for added security and slinging it around.  Some reporters on scene seemed to think they’re trying to get onto the White House grounds.

We can hope that’s improbable, or at least that such an attempt will be decisively deterred.  The rioters won’t be given the benefit of the doubt if they manage to surge onto the White House grounds.  A Fox reporter said earlier that the Trumps are in Florida, but of course the White House has a huge staff in it 24/7.

Of course, all of this was on Friday, after a rioting mob attacked the Ohio state capitol in Columbus on Thursday.

Supposedly these are unarmed “protesters,” and therefore much less alarming than the lawfully carrying citizens who demonstrated peacefully earlier at the state capitol in Michigan without breaking anything.

This surge may dissipate quickly.  I hope so.  Its highly organized character indicates that planners have had it on the shelf ready to go when an opportunity presented itself.  One of the problems with the authorities recognizing the intention to do it, by the usual-suspect groups, is that the visible signs of organizing for this mass strike would have differed little from the less-violent nationwide protests the same groups have sponsored before.  Federal and state law enforcement could very well have foreseen in the last several days that a surge of events was coming, but not been able to identify in advance the nature of what was being planned.

Antifa is undoubtedly involved, although it isn’t clear how much the riots are relying specifically on Antifa to anchor and direct them.  It is well to keep in mind that Antifa has never been designated a terrorist group, so monitoring its activities doesn’t necessarily fall in the routinely permitted category.  Moreover, conspiring at terrorism can be addressed under federal law, but the actual attacks on life and property are not in the federal purview, unless they occur on federal property.  The state and local authorities have to police and prosecute the crimes we’ve been seeing.  Outside of Washington, D.C., I haven’t seen anything in the last few days that appears to qualify as an attack on federal property.

There are plenty of unanswered questions, like whether there’s foreign backing in the mix.  That is by no means impossible.  The nations most highly motivated would be China and Iran.

The surge may not dissipate quickly.  My own assessment is that it’s not unrelated to the other major things going on in our civic life, such as the progress of the Durham investigation and the prospect of unpleasant revelations ahead for the Obama administration, the Democrats in general, and the media.  Someone out there is fighting very hard, and seems willing to take everything he can down with him.

I have no conspiracy theories in mind (and really don’t want to hear any) about the timing of George Floyd’s death.  I assume the spin-up of the riots seized on Floyd’s death as an opportunity, and the planners were able to take advantage of it on short notice because they’re prepared to do that at any time.

For what it’s worth, besides ex-cop Derek Chauvin being arrested, we heard from the medical examiner today.  The preliminary assessment is that Floyd did not die from asphyxiation.

That certainly seems counterintuitive, in light of the video.  Given the bizarre nature of the whole situation, I would sympathize with any skepticism from Floyd’s family about that.  We have to hope for a more worthy performance from the D.A. and the Chauvin defense than we’ve seen so far from other authorities in Minnesota, to sort this out and extract “justice” from it.

Great – as I go to post, this update with an Antifa-led attack on a police and sheriff facility in Portland, Oregon.

UPDATE: Oh, look – and they got inside:

And as midnight nears on the West coast, police try to corral rioters who have set two large fires in the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

On-scene reporters say the rioters keep adding fuel to the fires.

The human cost of attacking “things”:

Whatever justice is, it’s not this.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.