The death of an innocent African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of a police officer received almost universal condemnation in the United States. But the peaceful-protests-turned-violent-riots that have erupted in major American cities in the tragedy’s aftermath are proving much more divisive.
As reported by Campus Reform, a new Monmouth University poll reveals that some Americans support even the more radical actions of protesters, which include vandalism, arson, and looting. In particular, young Americans aged 18 to 34 had a more positive impression of the protesters’ actions.
This poll asked respondents if they were aware of “the protests across the country, including the burning of a police precinct in Minneapolis, in reaction to a recent incident where a black man died when a police officer kneeled on his neck.” Then, it asked them “Given what happened, do you think the actions of the protestors were fully justified, partially justified, or not at all justified?”
So, this question was not asking respondents about peaceful protesters, but about the actions of “protesters” including the burning of a police station — which many would deem violent rioting, not protesting.
Even with the burning of a police station included in the question’s framing, 22% of young Americans said they thought these actions were “fully justified,” and 40% said they were “partially justified.” This means that almost 2 in 3 young people said they at least partially support violent protesting that includes arson.
This comes after the prominent young progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez subtly encouraged protesters, and possibly rioters, with social media posts telling “protesters” to bring “heat-resistant gloves,” “cover up identifying tattoos,” and wear “nondescript clothing.”