List of incidents of civil unrest in the United States

Listed are major episodes of civil unrest in the United States. This list does not include the numerous incidents of destruction and violence associated with various sporting events.[1]

18th centuryEdit

19th centuryEdit





The New York Orange Riot of 1871, between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants.



20th centuryEdit










The disturbance lasted for an hour with 150 youths participating. A grocery store was looted and set on fire. Four police officers, including one involved in the initial arrest, were injured.[46][47]


21st centuryEdit




  • 2020 – New York City FTP protests, January 31, Anti-Transit Police and MTA protest resulting in hundreds of arrests over the three separate days of demonstration. Vandalism and violence on train stations were reported.
  • 2020 – University of Dayton closure riot, March 11, A riot broke out following the university's announcement of a temporary closure due to COVID-19.[50]
  • 2020 –
    Protesters surround a police precinct in Minneapolis during the George Floyd protests, part of a larger wave of civil unrest in 2020 and 2021.
    George Floyd protests, May 26 – Following the murder of George Floyd, protests and civil unrest against police brutality and systemic racism began in Minneapolis and quickly spread across the United States and the world, on a scale unseen since the unrest of the summers of 1967 and 1968. Derek Chauvin, the policeman who held his knee on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes, was soon fired along with the three other officers involved. Later, Chauvin was arrested and charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter; after being taken into custody and released on bail in October 2020, Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in April 2021[51] and sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison in June 2021.[52] The other three policemen were convicted of federal civil rights violations in February of 2022.[53] Widespread protests and riots spread to other American cities and then to other countries, with Floyd's murder garnering condemnation.[54] Protest tactics included peaceful occupation and resistance, but was overshadowed by widespread looting and damage of private and public properties. In the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill, an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone was established on June 8, 2020, covering six city blocks and a park after the Seattle Police Department left their East Precinct building. The area was cleared of occupants by police on July 1, 2020. May 29 began national days of protests in every state; some of which lasted throughout the summer of 2020.[55]
  • 2020 – Kenosha unrest, August 23–28, On August 23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot in the back by a police officer while not complying with their attempt to arrest him. Protests and rioting occurred after the incident. A State of Emergency was declared, and police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. During several days of rioting, government buildings were damaged, businesses were looted and set on fire, and vehicles were firebombed, including 100 cars burned at a car dealership. On the third day of unrest an armed teenager shot three rioters, whom one was also armed, wounding one and killing two. By August 28, almost 1000 Wisconsin National Guard troops were on the streets, backed by National Guard troops from Michigan, Alabama and Arizona. Nearly 100 buildings were damaged with the cost of damage to City property close to $2 million and the cost to private property damaged near $50 million.
  • 2020 – Minneapolis false rumors riot, August 26–28, On August 26, a false rumor that police shot a man in Minneapolis started riots that set four buildings on fire and damaged 72 others.
  • 2020 – Jewish Protest, October 7–8, In Brooklyn, New York, members of the Orthodox Jewish community protested over new COVID-19 restrictions. Minor fires were set, masks were burned, and journalist Jacob Kornbluh was attacked. Heshy Tischler was taken into custody for inciting a riot.[56]
  • 2020 – Philadelphia riot, October 26 – November 4, Caused by the Killing of Walter Wallace by Philadelphia police.
  • 2020 – 2020–21 United States election protests, November 3 – March 2021, Several demonstrations were held during and after the 2020 presidential election. Clashes between pro-Trump supporters and counterprotesters occurred on multiple nights, including November 14 and December 12. On the night of December 12, there were multiple stabbings and over 23 people were arrested.
  • 2021 – United States Capitol attack, January 6, After months of unsuccessful attempts by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, asserting voter fraud occurred and unsuccessfully attempting to pressure state election officials to alter the election results in his favor, a large group of pro-Trump supporters, allegedly called to action by Trump,[57] entered the United States Capitol in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden's election victory. The Capitol was vandalized, including doors, windows, and offices, forcing members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to evacuate. One death occurred as a direct result of the unrest, and several additional deaths were reported subsequently, but determined to be due to unrelated or natural causes.[58] Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from Southern California, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to enter through a broken window leading to the Speaker's Lobby inside the Capitol. During a rush of protestors attempting to fight their way through the police line, Rosanne Boyland was unintentionally crushed and killed. While originally believed to have been a victim of blunt force trauma or chemical spray during altercations between protestors and police, officer Brian Sicknick also died shortly after the violence from a stroke. Nearly 140 police officers were injured.[59] In the aftermath of the unrest, which received widespread domestic and international condemnation, the Chief of the Capitol Police resigned under pressure and President Trump was impeached a second time under accusation of incitement of insurrection.[60][61] His subsequent trial in February 2021 ultimately resulted in an acquittal by the Senate, making Trump the first to be tried as a former president and to be impeached and acquitted twice.[62]
  • 2021 – Daunte Wright protests, April 11 – February 18, 2022, On April 11, police officer Kim Potter fatally shot 20-year-old African-American man Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, near where former police officer Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd.[63] Protests demanding justice for Wright were met with force by law enforcement, who used tear gas, canisters, and other methods to disperse protesters. Several demonstrations escalated into riots with property damage, looting, and violent clashes between protesters and police. On April 14, shortly after she resigned from the police force, Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.[64] In response to the unrest, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a State of Emergency and imposed a citywide curfew amid mass arrests.
  • 2021 – May 9 – June 2021, amid the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis, the United States saw a rise in antisemitism and violence against Jews, as both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters took to the streets of major U.S. cities.[65] On May 20, in Midtown Manhattan, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters both took to the streets; the two groups collided and fights broke out. At least 26 people were arrested during the protests on various charges, including obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police. During the violence, anti-semitic attackers beat a Jewish man.[66] Also on May 20 in Bal Harbour, Florida, an SUV carrying four supporters of Palestine drove by a synagogue and threw garbage at a Jewish family. A nearby driver, armed with a gun, witnessed the incident and jumped to the family's defense, chasing the men away. In a separate incident, a man in Miami drove a van painted with Nazi symbols past a pro-Israel demonstration and shouted antisemitic slurs; the man was subsequently arrested and later released.[67]
  • 2021 – Winston Boogie Smith riots, June 3–7, On June 3, at about 2:10 P.M at a parking garage on Lake Street between Fremont and Hennepin Avenues in the Upton district of Minneapolis, a 32-year-old African-American man named Winston Boogie Smith was killed by Hennepin County and Ramsey County Sheriff's Departments deputies who were assisting the US Marshals Service in arresting him. The US Marshals Service stated their reason for arresting him was because he had failed to appear in court on May 19 after being arrested for firearms possession. There is no known video footage of the incident occurring. Both a Ramsey and a Hennepin county deputy were later placed on administrative leave. A crowd gathered after the incident occurred waiting to hear more information pertaining to the incident. During that night a handful of businesses were looted and vandalized. 9 arrests were reported to have been made.[68] On June 13, an SUV drove into a parked car that was shielding protesters and the car was pushed into a crowd, leading to the death of one person and injuring 3 others.[69] On July 8, 2021, a video link was posted on Twitter showing a driver in the Uptown area of Minneapolis "Firing a gun into the air while doing burnouts".[70][71]
  • 2021-2023 – Stop Cop City, Due to an increase of crime and a lack of police morale from the 2020–2022 United States racial unrest in the city of Atlanta, a training facility was proposed to be built in order to address these issues. In response, forest defenders known as Stop Cop City began to protest the construction by barricading the area and performing sit-ins in the forest. On January 18, 2023, law enforcement agencies attempted to clear the area. During the raid, a trooper was shot in the leg and a protester, identified as Manuel Terán, known also as "Tortuguita", was killed by police.[72][73] Police stated Terán fired on them without warning.[74] Journalists who had previously interviewed Terán, other protestors, and Terán's family have questioned whether Terán fired first, pointing to lack of body-camera footage of the shooting and calling for an independent investigation.[74][75][76][77] In response to the shooting, on January 21, 2023, protesters marched through Atlanta; some burned an Atlanta Police Department vehicle and started attacking businesses that have financial contributed to the Atlanta Police Foundation.[78]

See alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

  • Gottesman, Ronald, and Richard Maxwell Brown, eds. Violence in America: an encyclopedia (1999).
  • Graham, Hugh Davis, and Ted Robert Gurr, eds. Violence in America: Historical and comparative perspectives (1969).
  • Gurr, Ted Robert, ed. Violence in America: Protest, rebellion, reform (1979).
  • Hofstadter, Richard, and Michael Wallace, eds. American violence: A documentary history (1971).
  • Victor, Orville J. History Of American Conspiracies: A Record Of Treason, Insurrection, Rebellion, &c. In The United States Of America. From 1760 To 1860 (1863) online