by Brittany Jennings
Boston Broadside Columnist
Protests and riots rage across the country after George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police last week.
In the wake of the protests and rioting, Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, urges for calm in an interview with Good Morning America: “He would want us to seek justice the way we are, the way we’re trying to do, but channel it another way,” Floyd said. “Ripping up, damaging your hometown is not the way he’d want,” he added.
The unrest and destruction overshadowed peaceful protests in major cities across the country. Curfews have been imposed and the National Guard has been deployed in many cities across America, including Boston.
Boston Turned into a War Zone –
Police Cruiser Torched
It looked like a war zone in Downtown Crossing, Newbury and Boylston streets following the aftermath of protests and vandalism. Rioters in Boston turned on police by throwing glass bottles, rocks, and bricks. They damaged police cruisers and set at least one on fire.
You could hear police officers yelling for help over their police radios as they were being pelted with objects.
Massachusetts State Police and the National Guard were called in for back up as the chaos erupted on the streets of Boston and as fires burned at the Boston Common.
A number of storefronts had glass broken and were marked by graffiti, including Walgreens and Marshalls in Downtown Crossing where people were seen climbing through the windows.
21 Cruisers Damaged, Dozens of Officers Injured
As of Monday, Boston police say 53 arrests were made, 21 cruisers were damaged, 9 officers were taken to the hospital and dozens of others were treated for minor injuries during the protests.
“Unfortunately, individuals showed up not with a peaceful intent on mind but with being disruptive. That’s not paying homage,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. “We applaud everyone who protested peacefully but unfortunately others came, hellbent on destroying our city.”
Commissioner Gross is right. Burning police cruisers and demolishing small businesses isn’t justice for Floyd. Our city needs to be protected and these actions should not be permitted.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh addressed the Boston protests: “I want to say to all of those peaceful demonstrators your words, your testimony, your call to action, move me. And you are moving our society forward. And we will continue that conversation and lead that progress. Because that’s where we are in Boston,” He added. “But what happened in downtown after the protests ended, was an attack on those values. And it was an attack on our city and its people.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said: “To the criminal and cowards that tarnished that peaceful protest, I expect your day in court will come soon.” He added, “The destruction of property, the looting, the criminal attempts to injure law enforcement are unacceptable.”
Our nation has been in crisis. We’ve been dealing with a health crisis and an economic crisis.
Many businesses in Boston are economically hurting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of these businesses that were targeted by vandals planned to re-open soon. Now they’re forced to delay their re-opening to cleanup and repair.
Chris Parsons, the owner of The Oyster Club restaurant in the Back Bay told WBZ-TV, “It’s been an emotional roller coaster with the coronavirus already … We’ve already been through the process of closing the restaurant emotionally,” he added.
Our local leaders and officials have an obligation to the citizens of the Commonwealth to tell these criminals their outrageous behavior will not be tolerated here.
Destruction should not be accepted in our community. We are better than this, Boston.
Follow Brittany Jennings on Twitter @Brittany_J10