May 31, 2020

ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante has condemned the destruction and violence that has broken out across the country in response to the death of George Floyd.

Although protests were largely peaceful as demonstrators marched in the streets from Los Angeles to New York, demonstrators in Atlanta set a police car ablaze and broke windows at CNN's headquarters. A number of businesses were destroyed and looted during the riots, which have spread to cities large and small. Curfews were enacted in more than two dozen cities and the National Guard was summoned in at least 12 states.

Late Saturday night, Benante took to his Twitter to write: "... if you see a pile of bricks mysteriously stacked up on a corner #setup don't throw them into the window of someones business #assholes #Protestpeacefully We R angry- channel that anger and make a change -What does looting have to do with the death of #GeorgeFloyd ? #freeshit" He added the hashtag "#RiotersAreNotProtesters".

When one of Benante's followers quoted civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "A riot is the language of the unheard," and added, "I get what you mean, Charlie, but when a nation is kneeling on your neck and won't let you speak...", the drummer responded: "I'm with you all the way, that's not at all what I'm saying. The protesters are being outnumbered by the rioters, that's all"

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on Monday (May 25) as Minneapolis police arrested him outside a convenience store on a report of a counterfeit bill being passed. The 46-year-old was seen on a bystander's video gasping for breath during an arrest in which an officer knelt on his neck for almost eight minutes. In the footage, Floyd is heard pleading with officers, "I cannot breathe... Don't kill me," while the officers ignore his pleas. He eventually stops talking and moving.

In recent months, Benante has sent out multiple tweets that were critical of the Trump administration. In January, the drummer implied that Trump authorized the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, to distract the public from his impeachment trial.

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