As protests hit the streets nationwide over George Floyd and support for the Black Lives Matter movement, so have the string of looting and crimes against small businesses.
Asian businesses in six locations across the U.S. were struck by looters and vandals days after his death.
NextShark has compiled a small list of some of the spots hit, which has since grown over the weekend.
Saigon Garage, Lake Street by 31st Avenue. pic.twitter.com/5AFvDSBah6
— Frederick Melo, Reporter (@FrederickMelo) May 28, 2020
Others included Midori’s Café, El Nuevo Rodeo, and Addis Ababa, and various other “mom-and-pop restaurants” and those with “plywood barricades” reading “Minority owned.”
Good Samaritans gathered in the Minneapolis neighborhood to clean up the broken glass littering the streets, with one man, Derek Vander Vorste, saying, “If we do this, we should clean it up. Places like [Walgreens], it’s a national company, I don’t really think too much of it. Places like [Saigon Garage] over there, it’s sad to see this happen especially to the people that are being hurt, that the whole protest started around. But I mean, that’s what happens when stuff gets carried away.”
Midway also faced destruction on Friday. Twitter user @Piexelxilla took screenshots from PBS NewsHour to showcase 20-year business owner Kyung Park who “tried to hold back tears as he talked about the business he’s had for 13 years.”
Kyung Park tried to hold back tears as he talked about the business he’s had for 13 years that he really hopes to be able to reopen for his customers. This store was his livelihood. Can you tell?
The protests & riots will continue, and need to. But we MUST protect our community. pic.twitter.com/zaHhcvTa5Y
— dotori-muk says fuck the police (도토리묵) (@Pixelxilla) May 30, 2020
One Bangladeshi-Indian restaurant owner in response to protestors burning his building down said, “Let my building burn. Justice needs to be served.”
In downtown Chicago, David Choi’s Korean-Mexican fusion storefront for Seoul Taco was also plundered. Choi wrote his support for the movement but also admitted his frustration as a business owner.
“Bottom line there are lives in our Black and minority communities, that on a way too regular basis, are NOT REPLACEABLE…” he said. “We will clean up and live another day, and fight another day. Please see the bigger picture of this.”
In a Facebook video posted yesterday, user Lisa Ling Liu documented the violence occurring in Chinatown where she’d grown up.
Her relative’s small T-Mobile store was about to be ransacked by looters, hurling rocks to smash the glass in, until the NYPD arrived on their motorcycles. The looters fled on their bicycles.
In a later clip, various fires were lit on the streets amid blaring sirens.
“JUSTICE should be [served] for George Floyd. But how will looting help,” she wrote. “Violence will not justify the situation.”
Another video originally posted to a Facebook group, CHINESE Uniting Towards Equality (By QueenieHO) from the Northeastern Queens, NYC page yesterday, also shows a crowd of looters and vandals running through Chinatown, knocking over trashcans, and gathering in front of Asian stores.
Eventually, they are seen dragging a wooden pallet to throw on top of an already lit street fire.
An admin for the Northeastern Queens page later stated that the fire occurred on Mott St., “in front of the supermarket where there was [an] altercation over not wearing PPE.”
Dion Lim, an anchor and reporter for ABC7 News, posted a clip of the aftermath on Oakland’s Chinatown on Saturday.
Sent to her by a viewer named Joanna, an elderly Chinese man dejectedly narrates what happened in Cantonese. The store he briefly passes with the destroyed window belongs to Yung Kee Restaurant. Several of the nearby stores have been burglarized, including an AT&T.
“These are small family-owned restaurants and businesses that are already hurting,” Lim wrote. “70+ businesses in Oakland were targeted.”
Dion Lim, later posted a clip of a store in San Franciso’s Chinatown yesterday, facing the same treatment as the T-mobile store above. The clip was sent anonymously to her by a viewer, where looters attempt to kick the glass door in.
“This is a group of about 30 looters breaking into a store late last night,” she captioned. “In a neighborhood where businesses are suffering from discrimination-related losses in sales this is a huge blow.”
ABC7 News uploaded photos of the aftermath, with damage done mainly to jewelry stores.
One shows A & K Jewelry on Grant Ave. with its gate ripped open and the inside barricade torn through.
Rafu Shimpo reported businesses on Second Street in Little Tokyo were looted on Saturday morning during protests in downtown Los Angeles. Some of them being Clayson, Little Tokyo Pharmacy, Oomasa sushi restaurant and Maneki Neko gift shop.
JapanLA, a Japanese pop culture shop also wrote a statement on Saturday about their incident.
“We stand by the Black Lives Matter movement,” Jamie Rivadeneira, the owner, wrote. “I believe this group was not part of that movement.”
View this post on Instagram
🚨 Update – I wanted to make clear that i posted this screenshot from my cameras as i was watching my store being looted and vandalized in real time from home. My family, friends, customers were all calling and texting me because they saw our store getting broken into on live TV. It is not to show celebration of arresting protestors at all. It was to show the looters were finally getting cleared out of my store, and our block had a better chance of not getting set on fire, like some of the other stores down the street. We stand by the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe this group was not part of that movement. Small businesses are already hit hard with covid and were closed for 2 months. It was Round Two’s first day open after being closed and Happy Ice’s grand opening. Happy Ice is a black owned business. The owner was there all night protecting all of our businesses, from getting set on fire that night, risking his life because he and his team worked so hard for almost a year to open. So for all of you saying we can all just rebuild and we have insurance is really kicking us when we are down. The amount of time, love and energy we pour into our businesses is something we can’t get back. The violation that we feel as we watch people invading a place we thought was safe and protected is not to be taken lightly. Thank you for everyone who came out the next day: friends, fellow business owners, neighbors, who came out to support JapanLA and clean up and offer me air hugs, risking their lives because we are still facing covid. We are on the same side. Black Lives Matter. I know a lot of you saw JapanLA getting looted on the news! They finally cleared them out and arrested some of the looters. We are all crushed and deeply saddened. Thank you for all the texts. We all left at 4:30pm and our staff is home safe. I’ll send more updates soon!
George Floyd’s younger brother, Terrence, in an interview with ABC News, denounced the violence to erupt out of his brother’s death.
“George stood for peace,” the media outlet stated.
“I’m outraged too,” Terrence said. “Sometimes I get angry. I want to go crazy. My brother wasn’t about that. You’ll hear a lot of people saying, ‘He was a gentle giant.'”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed also tweeted, condemning the looting.
We are implementing a curfew that will start tomorrow at 8pm.
People are hurting right now. They’re angry. I’m angry.
The City and the police will support peaceful protests, as we did all day today.
We can’t tolerate violence and vandalism. Now is the time to go home.
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) May 31, 2020
Feature Image via Getty