The death of George Floyd, an African American, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer has sparked weeks of urban protests, but also fierce condemnations of President Donald Trump. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio partly blamed the president for the unrest, noting “there’s been an uptick in tension and hatred and division since he came along.”
Less anger, though, was directed at Minneapolis’ political establishment. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (a merger of Minnesota’s Democrats and the state’s Farmer-Labor Party) has run the city since 1975. Instead, the New York Times ran a mild piece observing that, for Democratic leaders of Minneapolis and other cities, the violent events were “testing their campaign promises and principles.”
Floyd’s death was the latest in a series of disturbing incidents that have fed a growing belief among African Americans that they’re a target of abusive cops. For many, today’s tragic events evoke the experiences of the 1960s, when blacks who had moved into Northern cities clashed with hostile police departments, setting off similar riots.
What is striking is that the principal controversies then and now largely revolved around police departments in Democrat-controlled cities, with a few notable exceptions, like Ferguson, Mo. Despite decades of promises of reform, these cities — Baltimore, Chicago, and Minneapolis are notable recent cases — continue to struggle with relations between the police and minority communities. The media rarely acknowledge this failing of the party, and it seems to evoke little self-reflection among urban Democrats themselves.
Photo by Natasha Moustache/Getty Images