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Media pushes ‘largely peaceful’ protest that yields historic dead, injured

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The media has been anxious to describe protests around the country surrounding George Floyd’s death as “largely peaceful,” but the description “largely peaceful” has often failed to account for the unprecedented partial violence that has accompanied the demonstrations.

Getting a tally of dead and injured for the worst riots since the King assassination in 1968 has been difficult for these “largely peaceful” protests, because the numbers of casualties cut across the entire country.  

It’s also a story the media doesn’t want you to hear.

Yet the dead and injured are significant and historic.

An “informal tally” by Minneapolis’ Fox6 local network shows that 17 people died by June 8.

“Among those killed … are a retired police captain, a beloved owner of a barbecue restaurant, and a former star football player known as ‘Mr. Indianapolis,’” says Fox6.

By Forbes‘ count there were 19 dead by June 8 — “a majority of whom are black.”

Attorney General Barr reckoned that 150 police officers had been injured by early June.

There is no definite counting of the casualties yet, but, by contrast, the violence after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 saw about 40 deaths.     

The trend towards describing protests as “largely peaceful” seems to have come on June 1 when President Trump visited St. John’s Church near the White House after protesters set fire to the church the night before.

A story from the Washington Post on May 31 headlines the situation in the country: Mass protests and mayhem continue into a sixth night

“At least five people have been killed in violence that flared as demonstrations in parts of the country devolved into mayhem. Gunfire rang out from Detroit to Indianapolis, where authorities said people were slain in shootings connected to the protests. In Omaha, a 22-year old black protester was killed in a struggle with a local business owner on Saturday night,” reported the Washington Post.

In Washington, D.C., the Post reported at least three fires nearby the White House.

“Peaceful protests exploded into unrest and outrage in Washington on Sunday night, with some demonstrators setting and feeding fires as an 11 p.m. curfew neared.”

Yet by June 8, the Washington Posts’ “fact-checker” Sarah Cahlan tweeted that the scenes in DC had been “largely peaceful” on June 1:

The Washington Post analyzed hours of video footage, police audio, and other records to assemble a complete account of the crackdown on largely peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square on June 1st.

But “largely peaceful” protests, as we have seen, can also occasion violence — by definition of being partly violent as well.

Like dozens of protests around the country, police described protesters in DC on June 1 as “throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids.”

It’s just fortunate that the “largely peaceful” and partially violent protest in this case didn’t result in a bunch of casualties.

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