The Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative was set up as an extension of Kaepernick’s eponymous nonprofit organization. The initiative will provide protestors who face charges with financial resources and access to top defense lawyers, according to its website.
The Minneapolis protests have triggered a polarizing debate across the country. Critics, including President Trump, have decried violent acts by demonstrators, including looting and the destruction of local businesses. Proponents say the protests are a proportionate response to a police-involved death.
“When there is an injustice within our community, it is our legal right to address it, by any means necessary,” the Know Your Rights website says. “If you, or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, or has been arrested while fighting injustice in the Minneapolis area, please complete the form below with as much detail as possible.”
Demonstrators took to the streets of Minneapolis and other cities around the country to protest police brutality after Floyd, 46, died while in custody Monday night. Police responded to a call that a counterfeit bill was used at a nearby grocery store. A bystander video showed a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for several minutes prior to his death.
The four officers directly involved in the incident were fired. The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard earlier this week as protests turned violent, with protestors looting local businesses and setting a police station ablaze on Thursday night. President Trump criticized local leadership for allowing the situation to escalate.
“Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted early Friday morning. Twitter added a tag to the tweet noting that it violated its rules about "glorifying violence."
Kaepernick drew international attention during his NFL career when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. He last played in the league during the 2016 season.
The 32-year-old quarterback was among the most prominent voices calling for action against local police following Floyd's death.
"When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction," Kaepernick wrote on Twitter. "The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!"
Kaepernick founded “Know Your Rights Camp,” which aims to educate and mentor young minorities around the country. The group also established a COVID-19 relief fund.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the initiative.
This story has been updated