State and Federal Leaders Appeal for Peace and Unity in the Wake of Minneapolis Riots

May 29, 2020 Updated: May 29, 2020

In response to the riots in Minneapolis, many U.S. leaders have made a plea to citizens to honor the memory of George Floyd by coming together in peaceful protest instead of resorting to violence and destruction.

Both Democrats and Republicans have condemned the killing of Floyd and called for a full investigation into the circumstances of his death so justice can be “swift.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement Friday regarding the protests against the killing of Floyd in Louisville, Kentucky, and around the country.

“The killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky have shaken our nation. For millions and millions of outraged Americans, these tragedies do not appear as isolated incidents, but as the latest disturbing chapters in our long, unfinished American struggle to ensure that equal justice under law is not conditional on the color of one’s skin,” McConnell said.

The Kentucky Senator said he continues to demand an investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death.

“I am glad the Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating, I am glad the FBI is involved, and I am glad Attorney-General Cameron has announced his office will evaluate what actions may be necessary after all the facts are in hand. Breonna’s family and all Kentuckians deserve truth, accountability, and justice,” he added

Taylor, a 26-year-old medical technician, was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police officers in March as they attempted to enter her home on a search warrant related to a narcotics investigation.

McConnell said generations of heroes have fought to give us the First Amendment right to peaceful assembly and protest, but this does not include destroying property.

“Stealing, burning down buildings, attacking law enforcement officers, or laying siege to police precincts is not speech or protest. It is violent crime that victimizes innocent people,” McConnell said.

Vice President Mike Pence also condemned the violence and destruction of property and persons.

“We will always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard,” said Pence.

“Our prayers are with the family of George Floyd and our prayers are also with the family of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We have no tolerance for racism in America. We have no tolerance for violence inspired by racism. And, as President Trump said, justice will be served,” added Pence.

“George Floyd should still be alive today,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“We can honor his memory by healing our broken communities. By mending racial divides. And by rebuilding America into a more perfect union that we know it should be. Ripping a city—and a country—apart only deepens the wound,” added McCarthy.

Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to address the violence sparked by Floyd’s killing.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

After it was announced that the officer who had been videotaped with his knee on Floyd’s neck, even after Floyd had been handcuffed and told the officer he could not breathe, was arrested, Rep. Doug Collins (R-S.C.) applauded the news.

“I’m glad to see this action taken. The brutal killing of George Floyd is appalling, and there must be swift justice. Americans must stand together to condemn this horrific act of hatred. This brutality must end,” said Rep. Doug Collins

Tim Walz, the Governor of Minnesota, also called for peace and the end to violent rioting.

“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect. George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction,” said Governor Walz.

McConnell implored his constituents and others around the country to come together to seek justice for Floyd, peacefully.

“Our city, our state, and our country have to pull together. Violence does not make our streets safer. Injustice does not promote justice. Destruction does not build a better society.”