List of incidents of civil unrest in the United States

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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 century[edit]

19th century[edit]





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



20th century[edit]











21st century[edit]




  • 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 – 2020–2021 United States racial unrest begins.
  • 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.
    Protests began on May 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spread around the world after the murder of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the policeman who held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes, was fired along with the three other officers involved. Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder. The other three policemen were charged with aiding and abetting murder. Widespread Protests and Riots spread to other American cities and then to other countries with Floyd's murder garnering international condemnation.[10] 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.
  • 2020 - May 29 began national days of protests in every state; some of which lasted throughout the summer of 2020.[11]
  • 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, from out of state, shot three rioters, wounding one and killing two others. 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.[12]
  • 2020 – Philadelphia riot, October 26 – Ongoing, Caused by the Killing of Walter Wallace by Philadelphia police.
  • 2020 – 2020–2021 United States election protests, November 3 – Ongoing, 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 – Storming of the United States Capitol, January 6 – After allegedly being called to action[13] by President Donald Trump, a large group of protestors stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to enter the chamber and protest the certification of Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. There is debate whether or not President Donald Trump's speech was what initially incited the protestors to break into the Capitol building. During the demonstrations The Capitol was vandalized, including doors, windows, and offices, prompting 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.[14] 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. Another protestor, Kevin Greeson was talking to his wife on the phone on the west side of The Capitol when he suffered a fatal heart attack. During a rush of protestors attempting to fight their way through the police line, Rosanne Boyland was unintentionally crushed, which resulted in her death. Protester Benjamin Philips died later under unclear circumstances apparently of a stroke. 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.[15] In the aftermath of the unrest, the Chief of the Capitol Police resigned under pressure and President Trump was impeached a second time under accusation of incitement of insurrection.[16][17] His trial ultimately resulted in an acquittal by the Senate making him the first president to have an impeachment trial occur after his Presidential term was completed, and also the first US President to be impeached and acquitted twice.[18]
  • 2021 – Daunte Wright protests, April 11 – Ongoing, 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 George Floyd's murder.[19] 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, after resigning from her position, Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.[20] In response to the unrest, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a State of Emergency and imposed a citywide curfew amid mass arrests. President Joe Biden has yet to condemn the looting and violence in Minnesota.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ see Ronald Gottesman, and Richard Maxwell Brown, eds. Violence in America: an encyclopedia (1999).
  2. ^ "The Boston Mob of 1835". Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  3. ^ a b c d Detroit Free Press' "The Detroit Almanac", 2001
  4. ^
  5. ^ Journal, John Gomez/For The Jersey (2017-04-24). "Woman's arrest led to uprising in Jersey City in 1964". nj. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  6. ^ Taylor, Alan. "1964: Civil Rights Battles – The Atlantic". Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Race Troubles: 109 U.S. Cities Faced Violence in 1967". U.S. News & World Report (published 1967-08-14). 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  8. ^ Momodu, Samuel (2020-12-25). "Tampa Bay Race Riot (1967)". Blackpast. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  9. ^ Stevens, William K.; Times, Special To the New York (1985-05-14). "Police Drop Bomb on Radicals' Home in Philadelphia". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  10. ^ "UN condemns US police killing of George Floyd | DW | May 29, 2020". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  11. ^ "Demonstrations & Political Violence in America: New Data for Summer 2020 | ACLED". 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
  12. ^ JTA, TOI staff and, et al. “Brooklyn Anti-Lockdown Protest Leader Arrested for 'Inciting Riot'.” The Times of Israel, 12 Oct. 2020,
  13. ^ "AP FACT CHECK: Trump's call to action distorted in debate". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  14. ^ Healy, Jack (2021-01-11). "These Are the 5 People Who Died in the Capitol Riot". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  15. ^ Landale, James (2021-01-07). "Capitol siege: Trump's words 'directly led' to violence, Patel says". BBC. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  16. ^ Phillips, Kevin Johnson, Tom Vanden Brook and Kristine. "'Unfathomable': Capitol Police security breakdown prompts chief's resignation". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  17. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (2021-01-14). "Trump Impeached for Inciting Insurrection". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  18. ^ "Donald Trump becomes the first U.S. president to be impeached twice". PBS NewsHour. 2021-01-13. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  19. ^ "Police shooting of Daunte Wright amid Derek Chauvin trial adds more trauma to wounded Twin Cities". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  20. ^ CNN, Jason Hanna, Brad Parks and Madeline Holcombe. "Officer charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright killing". CNN. Retrieved 2021-04-14.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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