The death of George Floyd caused violent riots in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The fourth-straight day of protests saw cites around the United States join in the outcry for justice, many instances causing thousands of dollars in damage to local businesses as looting broke out.
One of the worst cases is Atlanta, Georgia. Protestors broke into jewelry and retail stores, making off with armfuls of merchandise. The source of the anger behind these protests is the killing of black people in the custody of white police officers; Vandalizing stores does nothing but dishonor the innocent dead. In a passionate speech late Friday night, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms condemned the looting by saying, "This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos."
According to CNN, peaceful protests began Friday afternoon near the CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park before things turned violent as the sun went down. Among the damaged buildings was the one closest to the heart of sports fans, the nearby College Football Hall of Fame.
College Football Hall of Fame Looted in Atlanta Protests
The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta has been destroyed.
The sport of football represents bringing people of all backgrounds together for a common goal. Last night, rioters obliterated the hall of fame.
This is simply horrible. pic.twitter.com/05xMK0UkyF
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) May 30, 2020
Images of the damages on Saturday morning were shocking. Broken glass, empty shelves and clothes hangers scattered the sidewalk outside. Nothing was left behind. Fortunately, looters were reportedly only able to destroy the Hall of Fame's gift shop, according to AL.com, and the priceless memorabilia of the sport's past is apparently safe.
"We support the peaceful protests that honor [Floyd's] memory but unfortunately deteriorated into chaos and disorder," College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said via statement. "We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, we are better than this, better than this as a city, better than this as a country.
"In the coming days and weeks, we'll work to pick up the pieces to rebuild the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game, many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers."
#BREAKING New photos show damage to the front of the College Football Hall of Fame, the CNN Center, and The Omni Hotel after protesters move through Downtown #Atlanta. #fox5atl #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/AZn4sx7fYz
— FOX 5 Atlanta (@FOX5Atlanta) May 30, 2020
Damage to the College Football Hall Of Fame pic.twitter.com/NbV0oY91t9
— Eric Stirgus (@EScoopStirgus) May 30, 2020
Windows smashed at the College Football Hall of Fame. Graffiti tells the story of the night. pic.twitter.com/0KG2jVVczA
— Charlie Gile (@CharlieGileNBC) May 30, 2020
— Emily Gagnon (@Emily_Gagnon) May 30, 2020
The College Football Hall of Fame moved from South Bend, Indiana, to Atlanta back in 2014. The $68.5 million museum houses the memories and legacies of college football's past in the heart of Georgia. It's a damn shame such a place was vandalized with absolutely no positive outcomes in mind.
The 2020 Hall of Fame class included greats like Eric Crouch, (QB, Nebraska), Eric Dickerson, (RB, Southern Methodist), Glenn Dorsey, (DT, LSU), Steve McNair (QB, Alcorn State) and David Pollack, (DE, Georgia).
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp deployed National Guard members to Atlanta after declaring a state of emergency, and it's unclear how much the damages in downtown Atlanta will ultimately cost the city.
One thing is certain: vandalism and looting for the sake of personal gain and benefit is not going to effect change. George Floyd died, and police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder. This is terrible situation that deserves the wave of support people are showing by taking to the streets, but looting museums and stores like they are goodie bags is just despicable.
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