On the street: ‘A cop casually had his knee on his neck’

Precious Wallace.
Precious Wallace. Submitted photo

George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer has placed the city’s history of racial inequity and white violence at the forefront of a global protest movement. The Southwest Journal has asked local residents to share their feelings and experiences. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Read all of our interviews here.

Precious Wallace 

On the steps of Buzza Lofts in Uptown, Thursday, May 28

It has been a very hard few days being black in Minneapolis. Minnesota was not as prepared for what it now has brought on itself.

A cop casually had his knee on his neck.

I don’t think this is any different from the L.A. riots back in the ‘90s. Minnesota is one of the most segregated places, still, in the United States. People shouldn’t be that surprised that we’re seeing today a real uprising. If they don’t convict those officers, it’s just going to be worse. 

I haven’t been protesting. It’s too much for me because that’s the neighborhood I grew up in. When this is all done, no one is going to be issuing black people a therapist for their trauma. 

I live here. They tore up CVS. They are going to be OK, because they’re corporations that can get their windows fixed the next day. They tore up Studiiyo23, which is owned by a man of color, for no apparent reason. There are all these people who are just angry and you can’t stop anger.  

A lot of the world won’t get to see the video of white kids throwing bricks, bringing out bats. A lot of the black elders have told the young black kids, “Don’t follow suit, you can’t just get out of jail like they can.” But a lot of black kids and kids of color have followed suit because they’re angry.

As a person from South Minneapolis, I was so proud to see black folks organize so quickly and so swiftly — to be in Oakdale, to be in Robbinsdale, to see them at the precinct, to see them at 38th & Chicago. 

Most protests are peaceful. I watched a video yesterday of them sitting around in a circle on 38th and actually playing Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.” You’re not going to see that on the news.

They have to convict him. If they don’t, well, a lot of the younger generation — black, white, whatever — they keep saying, “[We] don’t got nothing to live for.”

To see Bob Kroll [the head of the Minneapolis police union] at that rally, high-fiving Donald Trump. How are you supposed to feel safe?