The activist, who helped put a national spotlight on racial injustices and police brutality by famously kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games in 2016, tweeted about Floyd’s death and the subsequent resistance to police violence.
“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick wrote Thursday. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!”
Kaepernick concluded his tweet by adding “Rest in Power” to Floyd, a Black man who died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck while he was handcuffed, unarmed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, was eventually taken into custody on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. People have called for the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest ― Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng ― to be charged.
On Friday, Kaepernick announced on Twitter that he started a legal defense initiative via his organization Know Your Rights Camp for people on the front lines in the Minneapolis area resisting and protesting police violence and racism.
Minneapolis police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators protesting Floyd’s death.
Know Your Rights Camp has “teamed up with top defense lawyers in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area to provide legal resources for those in need,” its website states.
Kaepernick’s legal defense initiative is the latest example of how the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has continued his advocacy since playing his last game in the NFL. The league has been widely accused of blackballing Kaepernick for his activism.
Last month, Kaepernick’s organization created a relief fund for Black and Latino communities disproportionately dying of COVID-19. He donated $100,000 to the fund.
Kaepernick, like many other public figures, rejected the notion that people should focus blame on Minneapolis demonstrators who are protesting Floyd’s death ― and a history of police violence against Black people and an unjust criminal justice system. Property has been damaged during the demonstrations, and the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct Station was set on fire Thursday.
“In fighting for liberation there‘s always retaliation,” Kaepernick tweeted on Friday. “We must protect our Freedom Fighters.”