Fire Blazes in Background as MSNBC Declares Minn. Riots ‘Not, Generally Speaking, Unruly,’ ‘Mostly, a Protest’

By Craig Bannister | May 29, 2020 | 12:13pm EDT

With a huge fire blazing in the background as he reported from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where rioters were ravaging the city, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi said the scene was not “unruly” – and was “mostly, a protest.”

After reporting that police “caused a new center of focus” by putting up fences and barricades, prompting protesters to try to “take that police station from the police,” Velshi said that “There are at least four fires that I can see – and, that’s just in this small radius.”

But, Velshi said he wanted to “be clear” in how he characterized the violence, because most of the crowd wasn't "unruly":

“I want to be clear in how I characterize it. This is, mostly, a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly.”

Saying “'It’s mostly a protest' here is like saying the Lincoln assassination was “mostly a theatrical production,'" Radio Host Buck Sexton snarked on Twitter in response to Velshi's characterization of the event.

The protesters were “relishing” the sight of the fires consuming the city, Velshi said:

“But, fires have been started, and there’s a crowd that is relishing that.”

What’s more, Velshi said, viewers need to understand why someone might "discount" the violence: citizens in Minneapolis have “an issue with police”:

“There is a deep sense of grievance and complaint here. And, that is the thing: that when you discount people who are doing things to public property that they shouldn’t be doing, it does have to be understood that this city has got, for the last several years, an issue with police. And, it’s got a deep sense of grievance and inequality.”

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