WASHINGTON — Twitter said early Friday that a tweet posted by President Donald Trump about the protests overnight in Minneapolis glorified violence because of the historical context of the last line he used: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The phrase was used by Miami’s police chief, Walter Headley, in 1967, when he addressed his department’s “crackdown on…slum hoodlums,” according to a United Press International story from the time.
Headley, according to the report, said that law enforcement was going after “young hoodlums, from 15 to 21, who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign…We don’t mind being accused of police brutality.”
Miami hadn’t faced “racial disturbances and looting,” Headley added, because he let word filter down that, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The phrase was considered to have contributed to the city’s race riots in the late 1960s, according to The Washington Post.
Headley, who died only a few months later in 1968 and had been denounced by civil rights leaders, was described in an AP obituary as the “architect of a crime crackdown that sent police dogs and shotgun-toting patrolmen into Miami’s slums in force.”