George Floyd

In Shift From Snarky Signs, Wieners Circle Shares Message on George Floyd

Chicago's Wieners Circle has made headlines for the snarky messages and pointed political jokes that often hang on the sign outside the famed Chicago eatery

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Chicago's Wieners Circle has made headlines for the snarky messages and pointed political jokes that often hang on the sign outside the famed Chicago eatery, mirroring the rude service that has become a staple of its business.

But on Friday, the restaurant's sign took a more serious tone, echoing a pain being felt nationwide in wake of the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody after pleading that he could not breathe.

"I can't breathe. I can't jog. I can't kneel. I can't watch birds," the marquee reads - a nod to several recent racially-charged incidents involving black men across the country.

"I can't jog" refers to the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery as he ran in Brunswick, Georgia and "I can't watch birds" relates to Christian Cooper, who captured video of a white woman calling police on him after he said he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park.

"I can't breathe" are the words George Floyd was heard uttering as Minneapolis police knelt on him for almost eight minutes Monday night during his arrest on a suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill. Floyd, who was handcuffed at the time, was pronounced dead later that night.

Floyd's death has sparked a federal investigation and nationwide protests, including ones in Chicago. In Minneapolis, where Floyd died, demonstrations escalated in violence, leaving buildings vandalized and looted and a police station torched.

Early Friday morning, the president tweeted he wouldn't let "THUGS" dishonor the memory of Floyd, adding, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter labeled Trump’s tweet as one that violated the company’s policy because it glorified violence in the last line.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said President Trump's comment was "profoundly dangerous" and that people must "say this is totally unacceptable no matter who is the speaker."

"His goal is to polarize to destabilize local government and inflame racist urges, and we can absolutely not let him prevail," Lightfoot added. "And I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It's two words. It begins with F. It ends with you."

Her comments were followed by further criticism from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who called the president "a racist, misogynist, homophobe, xenophobe."

"I'm outraged about what he does in response to these situations," Pritzker said.

At the time of Trump’s tweet, the Minneapolis National Guard had already been activated by the state’s governor, Tim Walz.

The police officer seen on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter hours later.

Derek Chauvin, who was one of four officers fired this week, was arrested after three days of often-violent protests that resulted in fires and looting across parts of Minneapolis. Chauvin faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to Minnesota state law.

On Thursday, Lightfoot said video of Floyd's death brought the death of Laquan McDonald, a Chicago teen who was fatally shot 16 times by a police officer in 2014, back into focus.

"Its been a painful reminder that while we have been focused on fighting this violence, we know our work and facing hard truths about Mr. Floyd, and I think about my brothers and men in my family," she said that afternoon.

As a result of the incident in Minneapolis, Chicago's new police superintendent, David Brown, ordered officers to watch the controversial video and undergo positional asphyxiation training.

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