Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike gave an impassioned speech last night at Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s press conference, calling for peaceful protest and an end to systemic racism. Mike directly addressed Atlanta protesters, who have been demonstrating against police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd down by the neck. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Mike, the son of an Atlanta police officer, opened the speech by expressing his “love and respect” for the police, explaining that his family has served in law enforcement for generations. He also mentioned the “original eight,” the first black police officers to serve on Atlanta’s police force in 1948. “Here we are 80 years later, and I watched a white officer assassinate a black man,” 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.”
“So that’s why children are burning it to the ground. They don’t know what else to do,” Mike continued. He then addressed the protesters in Atlanta, saying, “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.” He went on to express his belief that protestors should “go home” and hold “mayoral offices … chiefs and deputy chiefs” accountable at the voting booth in local elections. “We have to be better than burning down our own homes because if we lose Atlanta, what else we got?” he said. “We lose an ability to plot, to plan, to strategize, to organize, and to properly mobilize.”
Mike’s speech echoed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s earlier speech at the Atlanta press conference, in which Bottoms also called for protesters to “go home.” “You are disgracing our city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country,” Bottoms said. Georgia governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for Atlanta yesterday and deployed 500 National Guard service members to the city today. Bottoms also issued a 9 p.m. curfew for the city starting tonight.