As protests in Atlanta escalated toward looting and clashes with police, Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike appeared at the mayor’s press conference to deliver an emotional speech pleading with protestors not to vandalize their city.
The rapper, the son of an Atlanta police officer, said that while he has “a lot of love and respect for police officers,” mentioning that police department’s “original eight” African-American officers in the 1940s. “Here we are 80 years later, and I watched a white officer assassinate a black man, and I know that tore your heart out” Killer Mike said.
“I’m mad as hell. I woke up wanting to see the world burn yesterday, because I’m tired of seeing black men die. He casually put his knee on a human being’s neck for nine minutes as he died like a zebra in the clutch of a lion’s jaw.”
He continued, “So that’s why children are burning it to the ground. They don’t know what else to do. And it is the responsibility of us to make this better right now. We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don’t want to see targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”
On Friday nights, protests broke out in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Portland, Oakland and in other cities across the country — including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in recent days —spurred by protests in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd by police.
However, Killer Mike referenced the peaceful demonstrations of Martin Luther King in asking Atlanta protestors to stop destructing their own city.
“I am duty-bound to be here to simply say: That it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize,” he said.
“It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth. It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs. Atlanta is not perfect, but we’re a lot better than we ever were, and we’re a lot better than cities are.”
Atlanta protestors and police had a confrontation at Atlanta’s CNN Center Friday, with video from the scene — including a reporter yelling “shit” on air when a firecracker was hurled into the building — broadcast on the news network.
“I love CNN… but I gotta say to CNN right now: Karma’s a mother. Stop feeding fear and anger every day. Stop making people feel so fearful and give them hope,” Killer Mike said.
“I’m glad [protestors] only took down a sign and defaced a building, and they’re not killing human beings like that policeman did. I’m glad that they only destroyed some brick and mortar and they didn’t rip a father from a son, they didn’t rip a son from a mother, like the policeman did.”
Prior to Killer Mike, T.I. also addressed the citizens of Atlanta: