Black Lives Matter RI on overnight violence: ‘We had no part in that’


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After violence and destruction erupted in downtown Providence overnight, the leaders of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island tell Eyewitness News that they do not support that kind of behavior.

Gary Dantzler and Mark Fisher of Black Lives Matter R.I. said there is a difference between their peaceful protest this past weekend and the violence that occurred early Tuesday morning.

Both Dantzler and Fisher want people to stop confusing the two, adding that they have no interest in destroying their own city.

“We’re not together with them, if we were together, this would have never happened,” Dantzler said. “We don’t condone it in any way, but it doesn’t change the facts.”

Dantzler said the fact is that African Americans are angered by the death of George Floyd. Floyd, an African American man from Minneapolis, died after an officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.

Both men said their organization is all about non-violence, and while they’re angry, they would never condone the looting and destruction that occurred in Providence.

“They’re not part of our protest, they’re separate and they’re rouge but what happens is a lot of people get caught up in it, the emotion. But if the race relations were better, it would’ve prevented a lot of what we saw last night,” Fisher said.

“As a black man in America, I’m in a lot of pain myself and I don’t know how I’m getting through this but I’m not about violence, not in my own city,” Dantzler added.

Despite what occurred overnight, they both said they’re sticking to their ideals and will continue to peacefully protest until their voices are heard.

“What happened in Minnesota is like a powder keg that was finally lit, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’re not revolutionaries, we are realists,” Fisher said. “Imagine if that was your brother? or your child? or your sister? We see that day after day.”

Dantzler and Fisher said they are finalizing an action plan they will be releasing soon to the community.

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