Atlanta rapper Killer Mike has called on Atlantans protesting the death of George Floyd to stop destroying their city.
Killer Mike’s plea follows days of protests in several cities across the country. Protesters have clashed with police in Minneapolis and other cities, including Atlanta and Los Angeles, while rioters engaged in looting and vandalism.
The protests were sparked by a video clip that surfaced online, showing the events that led to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd on Monday.
The video showed a Minneapolis officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck during an arrest. Floyd can be heard telling the officer that he could not breathe before he died.
Floyd was reportedly arrested after he bought a pack of cigarettes with a bill that the store attendant believed was counterfeit money.
Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called on protesters to stop the violent protests. She said that while she supported the right of Americans to peaceful protest, they should avoid violent action that destroys their cities.
Killer Mike delivered an emotional speech
Concerned about the spread of the rioting and looting in Atlanta, rapper and activist Killer Mike, whose real name is Michael Santiago Render, joined Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at a press conference held on Friday. He delivered a speech in which he urged Atlantans to protest peacefully.
Killer Mike said he understood the protesters’ feelings
Killer Mike, who is the son of a police officer, told reporters that although he had a “lot of love and respect” for law enforcement officers, he was shocked by the clip showing an officer — who has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
“I watched a white officer assassinate a black man, and I know that tore your heart out,” the 45-year-old rapper and activist said. “I’m mad as hell. I woke up wanting to see the world burn yesterday because I’m tired of seeing black men die. He casually put his knee on a human being’s neck for nine minutes as he died like a zebra in the clutch of a lion’s jaw.”
“So that’s why children are burning it to the ground. They don’t know what else to do. And it is the responsibility of us to make this better right now… We don’t want to see targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”
Killer Mike asked protesters to stop destroying their city
Killer Mike then went on to plead with fellow Atlantans to stop destroying their city:
“I am duty-bound to be here to simply say: That it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize.”
Police and protesters clashed outside CNN Center in Atlanta
Killer Mike’s plea came after police and protesters clashed outside the CNN Center in Atlanta.
Referring to the incident in his emotional speech, Killer Mike said he loved CNN but urged the network to “Stop feeding fear and anger every day. Stop making people feel so fearful and give them hope.”
“I’m glad they (protesters) only took down a sign and defaced a building, and they’re not killing human beings like that policeman did. I’m glad that they only destroyed some brick and mortar and they didn’t rip a father from a son, they didn’t rip a son from a mother like the policeman did.”
Celebrities praised Killer Mike for his speech
Several celebrities and public figures took to social media to praise the Run the Jewels star for his speech.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) May 31, 2020
— Lance Reddick (@lancereddick) May 31, 2020
— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) May 31, 2020
big fan of Killer Mike https://t.co/GJ81jxUCCK
— Nic Nemeth (@HEELZiggler) May 31, 2020
Celebrities who tweeted in support of Killer Mike’s speech included rapper Eminem (Marshall Mathers), actor Lance Reddick, film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and the WWE wrestler and stand-up comedian Nick Nemeth, known professionally as Dolph Zigler.