Retailers Begin Process of Rebuilding After Rampant Looting Results from Protests Over George Floyd's Death
The word unprecedented has taken on an entirely new meaning the past few days. Retailers already coping with the effects of COVID-19, now face the prospect of restoring operations at stores in cities nationwide that were heavily damaged or destroyed during rioting and looting stemming from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death while in police custody, handcuffed and laying on his stomach pleading, “I can’t breathe,” while Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck, caused outrage in Minneapolis that quickly boiled over to other cities. Protests turned violent and retailers made easy targets for those intent on protesting through destruction of property and looting.
“We are a community in pain. That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities—it extends across America,” wrote on Target’s web site on Friday, May 29. “The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor,” he added, invoking the names of other black Americans who died recently. “We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts. As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose.”
That purpose will include reconstruction of the company’s store at 2500 E, Lake Street, about three miles southeast of Target’s downtown Minneapolis headquarters and not far from where Floyd was killed. The retailer said it would prioritize the rebuilding and reopening of the store to preserve 200 jobs. The timing of construction will be determined in the coming weeks with the goal to open the heavily damaged location in late 2020, according to the company. Target said its other damaged stores in the Twin Cities area would open in the coming weeks and that it would pay employees for up to 14 days of their scheduled hours during the closures.
The company also said to ensure community members within the areas of heaviest damage and demonstration have access to basic first aid, water and essentials, it would provide goods through partnerships with local nonprofits, including bottled water, food, baby formula, diapers, dry goods, common first aid supplies and medicine.
Target said its leaders were assembling community members, partners and officials to learn how the company can support the community as it heals, with sessions focused on family needs and co-creating the long-term commitment and actions Target takes on behalf of the Minneapolis and St. Paul community.
Target may have been at the epicenter of the initial protests and destruction precipitated by Floyd’s death, but retailers in communities nationwide have been impacted by rampant looting.