‘Our property is replaceable. Black lives aren’t’: State Street bar owner reflects on violent protests


MADISON, Wis. —  As businesses along State Street begin to assess the damage caused by violent protests, some staff have already started to put things into perspective.

Hawk’s Bar and Grill, located at 425 State Street, posted a message on its Facebook page describing Saturday’s events.

“As a State Street business we will say this. We have insurance,” the post starts out.

“While we don’t want to have our place damaged, if burning everything to the ground brings proper attention to the disgusting injustice in our country, so be it. Our property is replaceable. Black lives aren’t.”

The restaurant shared its message shortly after a group of 150 people started rioting on State Street. The group broke several windows to businesses and damaged city property.

Owners of Hawk’s Bar & Grill said they do not encourage violence or destruction of property of any kind, but shared the post as a way to “stand in solidarity with communities of color.”

Putting Out Fire Close Up

The violent protests started about an hour after an earlier, peaceful protest downtown ended. Around noon on Saturday, thousands of people gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.


Video of Floyd’s time in police custody has angered many. The video, which was recorded by a bystander, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing a knee into Floyd’s neck. In the video, you can hear Floyd, 46, saying “I can’t breathe” and saying things like “please” and “mama.” In total, Chauvin was leaning against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, including several minutes after Floyd went unresponsive.

4 Minneapolis cops fired after video shows one kneeling on neck of black man who later died

The officers were responding to reports of a forgery when they took Floyd into custody.

Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday.

Three other officers who responded to the scene have all been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.  As of Sunday morning, they have not been charged.

New surveillance video shows moments leading up to George Floyd's arrest