Two bearded men with long rifles strapped to their chests told a reporter for the Minnesota Reformer outside a tobacco shop that they supported the protests but not the violence that came with them.
“Basically you see the records that cops keep. And cops are a lot less likely to try and tread on people’s rights when there’s other armed Americans with them,” one of the men says in a video taken by the reporter, Max Nesterak. “I figured it’s about damn time that some heavily armed rednecks stood with fellow citizens.”
The man said the day before they showed up armed at the original protest site where Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck as Floyd told him, “I can’t breathe.”
A second armed man told the Minnesota Reformer he and his friend had been roaming the city to see which store owners needed help.
“It turns out these guys are out here with machetes and shattered windows trying to keep looters out of the businesses ’cause cops can’t get in here,” the man in sunglasses says, as two other armed men wearing face masks appear in the video.
“So I figured before there were cops, there were just Americans, so here we are. Bottom line, justice for Floyd and I hope they stop looting at some point.”
Mayhem broke out across Minneapolis Wednesday night, with looters breaking into shops, including Target, and torching buildings.
Protesters also vandalized the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, where the four cops involved in Floyd’s death are believed to have worked. All four have been fired.