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Trump: he didn’t know racist origins of remarks on George Floyd protests

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  • President Donald Trump claimed he didn’t know about the racist meaning when he quoted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in light of instances of escalating violence and looting amid the George Floyd protests.
  • The quote came from former Miami police chief Walter Headley in 1967, whose legacy of harsh policing in black neighborhoods incited three days of riots in 1968.
  • “I’ve heard it for a long time as most people have,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question at the White House. “And frankly, it means when there’s looting people get shot. And they die. And you look at what happened last night and the night before, you see that. It’s very common.”
  • Though some protests have remained peaceful, there have been instances of fires, shootings, and stores being looted at some protests.
  • In Louisville, Kentucky, seven people were shot and injured at the protests honoring Breona Taylor, who was killed in her home after police officers entered her home on a “no-knock warrant.”
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President Donald Trump said at an event at the White House on Friday that he was unaware of the racist origins of his remarks made in light of instances of escalating violence and looting amid the George Floyd protests.

Late Thursday, Trump tweeted condemning the incidents of violence that were emerging during the protests, writing these “THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.”

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he continued, appearing to quote former Miami police chief Walter Headley, whose harsh policing measures in predominantly African American neighborhoods incited mass protests in the late 1960s. Twitter later flagged Trump’s tweet for “glorifying violence.”

Trump defended his remarks on Friday, saying that it wasn’t meant to be perceived as a threat or call to violence, but instead a “fact.” He claimed ignorance regarding the quote’s connection to Headley.

“I’ve heard it for a long time as most people have,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question at the White House. “And frankly, it means when there’s looting people get shot. And they die. And you look at what happened last night and the night before, you see that. It’s very common.”

“And that’s the way that was meant, and that’s the way that I think it was supposed to be meant,” the president continued. “But I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know where it originated. I wouldn’t know a thing like that.”

Protests erupted in multiple states on Tuesday following Floyd’s death on Memorial Day and continued through Thursday, with thousands of people gathering to protest against police brutality after Floyd’s death, who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while detaining him.

Though some protests have remained peaceful, there have been incidents of destruction of property — including a Minneapolis police precinct being set on fire — and instances of looting in stores like Target.

Late Thursday night, seven people were injured after shots were fired amid the protests in Louisville, Kentucky, demanding justice for Breona Taylor, an African American woman who was shot eight times in her Louisville apartment after officers entered on a “no-knock warrant.”

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