A little more than a year after the death of George Floyd, some people are still making him out to be a hero and keeping the “Black Lives Matter” message alive. It’s not hard to find people retweeting and liking posts across social media bearing his image or talking about incidents where police officers have acted unprofessionally, but few are still talking about the ugly side of the protests and rioting.
Footage that can be seen on Brighteon shows the terrifying moment that a crowd of looters raided an Amazon delivery van parked on the side of a Santa Monica street in broad daylight on a weekend of violence and vandalism during the height of the protests last summer. A group of thugs can be seen breaking the windows of the van by throwing rocks at it before opening the back doors and pulling out a slew of boxes.
The brazen looting took place on 5th Street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Broadway. Numerous people can be seen grabbing boxes and running away from the scene. One clip of the incident circulating online was taken by journalist Kyli Singh, who lived nearby and saw the drama unfold from her balcony.
Sharing the footage, she tweeted: "My heart is breaking. This @amazon prime truck was broken into on 5th and Broadway in #SantaMonica."
"This is theft, NOT protesting," she added.
According to Singh, what began as five looters turned into a much bigger group rather quickly as people loaded up their cars with boxes. The driver was not inside the van at the time, and there were no passengers.
An Amazon spokesperson later confirmed that the driver was safe. They added that they were monitoring the situation and adjusting their routes to ensure driver safety.
Nevertheless, several Amazon delivery drivers told the media that they were scared to make deliveries
during the protests. One Chicago delivery driver said he felt like he had a target on his back, and the $25 an hour he was making was not worth the risk. A Washington Amazon driver cancelled all of his shifts for the week after seeing the looting video.
The looting took place on the same day that looters targeted stores
near the Third Street Promenade. In that incident, thieves were seen swarming stores and running off with arms full of clothing, some stopping to change into their new acquisitions while a “peaceful protest” took place nearby at the Santa Monica pier.
According to Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud, more than 400 people were arrested that day. She added: "So what we can glean from intelligence online is that there are opportunists who are tracking where peaceful protests are occurring, and they are then going to that city, knowing that resources will be tied up in ensuring First Amendment rights to free speech."
"They take advantage of that. And they loot and they perform criminal activity," she said.
So many lives and livelihoods have been lost as a result of the protests
While there’s a lot we can say about Amazon’s business practices and the way they treat their workers, this incident had nothing to do with Amazon or raising awareness of inequality and everything to do with pure, unapologetic greed.
When we see sentiments like “George Floyd - Never Forget,” let’s also remember that dozens of Americans were killed during the protests, and the $1 to $2 billion in riot damage
seen was the most expensive in insurance history. Let’s not forget the shop owners who lost everything due to looting who can no longer support their families. And what about the countless police officers who lost their jobs and livelihoods thanks to the calls to defund the police?
We’ll never know how many people have been killed or assaulted as a result of having fewer officers on the streets, but the numbers of deadly shootings in many major cities who have cut their forces are on the rise. Let’s not forget those deaths, either. The Floyd incident was extremely unfortunate, but if people really want us to remember what happened to him, we should also be talking about all the other lives that were lost because of the protests.
Sources for this article include: